United Nurses Association
|Motto||Together We Are Strong|
|4,79,000 nurses|
|Sudeep MV, General Secretary|
United Nurses Association (UNA), is a professional association of registered nurses in the state of Kerala in India. It was founded on November 2011 by a small group of nurses in Kerala with Jasminsha as the founding president. The UNA was mostly noted for bringing up the issue of exploitation of nurses as underpaid labourers in the thriving private hospital industry in the state. Since 2012 lasts, UNA working as a trade union with the help of no political parties and not receiving any benefits from them.
With the government divesting from health care, and an increased need for healthcare from an emerging middle class population, private investors in the industry had a gold rush. Most of the private hospitals employed both student as well as qualified nurses in low wages and transferred almost all the menial jobs onto their shoulders. In a state with a long history of trade union struggles, but this new age exploitation failed to be taken up by the established trade unions or political parties. Hences the working nurses were forced to do it by themselves. When UNA took the job up, it faced severe resistance primarily from the Indian Medical Association (which never in its history did standup against a doctors' strike). UNA negotiated with hospital management for fair wages, proper leave policies, job security etc. Resistance developed up to the point of rumours of an Essential Services Maintenance Act to be enforced by the government. All the major hospitals in Kerala incluing the Lakeshore, Amrita dealt the protests with force. It was a (visual) media support that brought the protest to slowly changing the public opinion on the matter and thus the High Court of Kerala quashing a plea for Essential Services Maintenance Act. Then the government was forced to negotiate on the issue with the hospital owners. A committee was appointed to study the issue. The committee, on May 2012, came up with a lot of reform recommendations including fair wage standards and an eight hour shift. These are but yet to be implemented.
'Voice of Kerala Nurses' http://keralanurses.hpage.com/