Services at Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences were hit on Friday, as around 2,000 nurses took mass casual leave to demand a hike in allowance and the revision of their pay scale. Emergency services were suspended, and only essential surgeries were carried out at the premier hospital today, reported The Hindu.

Although the hospital authorities claimed they were trying their best to manage, patients said that many of them were asked to leave without being treated.

The AIIMS Nurses’ Union has also threatened to go on an indefinite strike from March 27 if their demands are not fulfilled. The nurses are protesting against what they call discrimination by the Seventh Pay Commission. “Much like the doctors, we too are working long hours in extremely hazardous conditions. We are hurt by the second class treatment given to us by the government and institute,” a protesting nurse told The Hindu.

Union President Harish Kumar Kajla said that they want the entry pay scale for staff nurses to be hiked from Rs 4,600 to Rs 5,400 and the nursing allowance to be increased by Rs 7,800. “We are protesting against the retrograde recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission...Risk allowance and night duty allowances should be given to all nurses as it is given to all other government employees,” Kajla told PTI.

The president further added that their pleas have been ignored for the past year. “The AIIMS Nurses’ Union was patiently waiting for the last one year for the fulfillment of the promises made by the administration. Despite repeated representations, the administration has shown no mood to address the issue raised by the Union,” she said.

The AIIMS authorities, on their part, said they have sent a proposal to the Ministry of Health for a pay revision. “The report of government on the allowances has not yet been finalised,” a senior hospital official told PTI.