Members of Kranthi outside St Luke's hospital on Thursday
Kilkenny's Indian nurses held a protest at St Luke's general hospital today, Thursday, in support of their Irish colleagues who will strike next week.
Kranthi, a cultural and political organisation for people in Ireland from the Kerala region, wanted to publicly express their solidarity with their Irish colleagues. (Kerala is a region on the south west coast of India.)
According to Shinith Ak, secretary of Kranthi, about 99% of Kerali families in Ireland have at least one family member who is a nurse. There are 35 Kerali nurses working in Kilkenny, most at St Luke's, with others at St Columba's in Thomastown and in nursing homes.
Mr Shinith said his organisation felt it was their responsibility to support the nurses' strike. If the INMO (Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation) strike goes ahead next Wednesday, January 30, Kranthi will join them.
Today's protest took place from 10am to 11am in Kilkenny, Drogheda (in front of Our Lady of Lourdes hospital), and Waterford (Waterford Hospital) simultaneously.
Mr Shinith said there was a lot of public support from the people of Kilkenny, with motorists beeping horns and passers-by giving them a 'thumbs up.'
Kranthi Ireland can be found on Facebook.
Members of the Irish Nurse and Midwives Organisation in Kilkenny are set to take part in a series of nationwide 24-hour strikes - with the first strike on January 30. Talks to resolve the issues are currently ongoing.
There will be further 24 hour strikes on February 5 and 7, and then again on February 12, 13 and 14, if the dispute is not resolved.
The INMO announced the series of strikes on Tuesday in response to concerns about staffing levels and pay rates.