Thiruvananthapuram: Ruling CPM-led LDF in Kerala on Monday described the demand for
wage hike being raised by nurses in private hospitals as reasonable, and urged its government to take steps to end the ongoing agitation.
"Neither the CPM nor the LDF is against the strike of nurses who are fighting for a just cause. Their demand is reasonable," LDF convener Vaikom Viswan said.
However, the issues should be settled through talks, he told reporters after a meeting of the front's leaders here. Viswan said a solution is expected to emerge at the meeting of stakeholders convened by chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan for July 20.
Ramesh Chennithala, leader of the opposition, also asked the chief minister to take the initiative to end the strike. Nurses under the banner of United Nurses Association and Indian Nurses Association, who held relay dharna in front of the secretariat for over a month, had announced an indefinite strike from Monday, but put it on hold till July 19 following the government's intervention.
Besides, the Kerala High Court has restrained nurses from holding the indefinite stir on a petition by private hospitals which contended their services fall under the ambit of essential services.
An estimated 80,000 nurses were expected to join the strike.
March turns violent
Meanwhile, a march taken out by Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha activists to the secretariat in support of the nurses' turned violent on Monday.
The police used water cannons to chase away the agitators. Nurses belonging to Indian Nurses Association (INA) are continuing with their agitation, crippling functioning of various private hospitals in the Malabar region.
A group of nurses affiliated to INA is still protesting in front of the secretariat.