Indian ambassador criticises hospital for sacking nurses

ABU DHABI — Indian Ambassador to the UAE, Talmiz Ahmad, on Monday criticised the new management of the Mafraq Hospital which terminated the services of hundreds of nurses, including 160 from India.

By Anwar Ahmad

Published: Wed 27 Aug 2008, 1:26 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 5:10 PM

Speaking with Khaleej Times regarding the Indian nurses who approached the country's embassy here, Ahmad termed the management's action "unethical and insensitive" and said he would register his protest with the UAE government.

However, that might not help the nurses much as Mohamed Al Za'abi, Director of the Business Relations Department that handles labour disputes at the Ministry of Labour, clarified that the employees of both federal and local governments are not allowed to file complaints at the ministry. They still fall under the civil procedures code and they have the complete right to demand their rights, though, he said.

The Indian ambassador said, "A number of nurses have been sacked from Al Mafraq Hospital. This has been done on the basis of certain tests that were conducted earlier this year. At that time, the nurses were told that these tests were for the evaluation of their skills and for possible upgrading of the skills later on.

"The same tests have been used to terminate the services of these nurses on the ground that they have failed. We consider this approach completely unacceptable and we are going to register our protest against the hospital management's action with the UAE government in the strongest possible terms," Ahmad said.

The nurses were recruited by the government of the UAE and the Ministry of Health and Health Authority of Abu Dhabi on the basis of tough selection procedures. Some of them have served the hospital for 15 to 20 years. "At no stage has anyone conveyed to them any dissatisfaction about their work," Ahmad said.

"Therefore, we are unable to accept the action because it has caused extraordinary hardships to the affected nurses and their families in India," he said, and added that embassies of other countries are also upset with the action of the hospital management.

"There is apparently a new management at the hospital. It wants to bring in new staff of their choice. But I don't think such reorganisation should be done in such an insensitive manner as it harms hundreds of people."

The sacking of a large number of nurses is also not in the proper spirit of the cooperation India has with the UAE. "After all, our relationship is with the government of the UAE. If the UAE government selected these people and brought them here, it is its responsiblity to intervene. The hospital is, anyway, run under the Ministry of Health even if a private company has taken over the management," he added.

Colonel Rashid Al Khedr, Director of the Legal Affairs Department of the General Directorate of Residency and Naturalisation at the Ministry of Interior, said the nurses have the right to file complaints before the Abu Dhabi Court of First Instance.

They are entitled to extension of residency visas until the court pronounces its verdict. They have to produce a letter from the court about the pending case, he said.

Colonel Al Khedr also assured that if the court finds that the termination of service was arbitrary, the nurses would be reinstated and given their complete dues since termination.

Such cases are settled in a short period of time due to the sensitivity involved, he added.

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