Cardinal Alencherry urges to give fair wages to nurses

Published on July 4, 2017 by: – 

James kottoor(Note: It is indeed very heartening to hear Cardinal Alencherry speaking up for just wages for nurses. Noteworthy is his statement: there was no need to promote charitable works at Catholic hospitals without paying fair wages to nurses. Very very correct. Such works don’t deserve to be called ‘charitable’. They are like the so-called ‘good sheep’ in wolves clothing. Actually their true name is “Hypocrites” named by Jesus, who try to appear the opposite of what they are within: “white washed sepulchers” rotten within but flashy and pretty looking outside.

One trifle thing more would have made Cardinal’s statement magnificent and glorious, admitting or announcing for sure, if there were any black sheep under Catholic management. The strike is entering the third week, which was enough and more time for the Cardinal to make sure if there were such sheep under his management, before going public with his uncertainty, true or fake. Who else should be sure before making such a public statement? None will take it on face value. Trifles make perfection and perfection is no trifle and should not be trifle for those who claim to  be perfect.

All know government or other private colleges make daylight robbery of nurses, making hapless nurses sign for double the amount of what is paid. Is this happening in Catholic hospitals, schools and Colleges? For record the daughter of this scribe, a BSc nurse and IIT bachelor, had to work for a pittance of Rs 5,000 or so in a private hospital (not Catholic) in Ernakulam years ago.

We hope such things are not happening under Cardinal Alencherry. If they are happening, we shall surely bring them to the notice of the revered Cardinal. We appreciate Cardinal’s public statement on a controversial issue. james kottoor, editor, ccv)

Kochi: As a strike for better wages among nurses in Kerala aggravates, the head of Syro-Malabar Church Cardinal George Alencherry has urged private hospitals to ensure that nurses get salaries at par with those in the government sector.

The cardinal made the call at the inauguration of the Syro Malabar Church day on July 3 at the Church headquarters at Mount St Thomas in Kakkanad, Kochi.

With the strike entering its third week, the Indian Nurses’ Association (INA) and the United Nurses’ Association (UNA) have announced their decision to escalate their protests for fair wages. The unions allege that the state government has gone back on its word, although at the last industrial relations committee (IRC)  on June 27 Kerala state government had agreed to finalize and notify the minimum wages of nurses.

Cardinal Alencherry said that he was hopeful that hospitals managed by Catholic denominations are paying fair wages to the nursing staff, but asked all hospitals to re-examine this in the light of the latest protests by nursing associations in Kerala. He also went on to say that there was no need to promote charitable works at Catholic hospitals without paying fair wages to nurses.

The prelate said that although he had not examined all the demands put forward in the latest strike, paying fair wages to nurses – who provide a valuable service to society,  was certainly part of social justice.

All Catholic managements have agreed to follow the recommendation by a special committee assigned by the Supreme Court to make sure that nurses at privately owned hospitals get salaries at par with those in the government sector, Cardinal said. He urged all managements of private hospitals to follow the same.

Cardinal Alencherry also called on the state government of Kerala  to take speedy action to notify the minimum wages based on the recommendation of the committee set up by the Supreme Court.

Comment: It was at a very crucial moment Cardinal Alenchery came up with a soothing statement. Nurses from India and abroad had risen in support of the ongoing strike of UNA in Kerala. I could even hear the sound of a Church Laity divide also. In Social media there had been repeated proposals to stop funding the Church. It would have paved the way for a revolution within the Church. There is not many Catholic families without a nurse related to it and everybody agrees that they are not appropriately paid.

Cardinal Alenchery hit at the right point, indirectly saying that 'sharing the booty is not charity'. I do not understand, how Trichur Arch Bishop could write a pastoral letter asking Josephthe faithful to support the hospital managements instead of the suffering class of nurses, who are treated like ISIS slaves. Pay and pray has become the line of the present Church fully sunk in luxury. Let the control of the Church go to energetic youth instead of old brains tied in old patterns. 

Joseph Mattappally (asso. editor CCV)

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