Health TUs to hold protest on Wednesday

  • ‘Large’ protest planned for Colombo

By Pamodi Waravita

The Health Services Trade Unions Alliance will be engaging in strike action with a “large” gathering in Colombo on Wednesday (1 December), to urge the Government to meet their basic demands, including that the junior healthcare staff be paid for their sixth work day of the week, The Morning learnt.

“We will go for strike action on 1 December, with a large protest in Colombo. From 6 December, we will continue prolonged strike action if our demands are not met. We have been raising our basic demands with the Government for one-and-a-half years now. Although we were promised intervention by the Health Ministry in the 2022 Budget, this year’s Budget has actually slashed the Health Ministry’s budget by Rs. 6 billion. We work for six days of the week, including on Saturdays. On Saturdays, we are not paid a salary,” the Alliance’s Convenor Ven. Tempitiye Sugathananda Thero told The Morning yesterday (28).

The Thero added that there is a huge shortage in the work staff, which the Government is yet to fulfill. 

“We are also demanding that our official staff uniform remittance be increased to Rs. 15,000 and that the monthly special remittance be increased to Rs. 7,000. The daily living cost is steadily increasing and reports show that about Rs. 64,000 is needed for the survival of a four-person family. We only get Rs. 24,000 as a basic salary. How are we supposed to survive like this? We are demanding that the Government increase the salaries of all government sector workers by Rs. 10,000.”

He said that the unions have been continuously raising these concerns with the Health Ministry, which has repeatedly refused to enter into a dialogue with them.

“We will be forced to take strike action from 6 December if we do not receive a satisfactory response. The Ministry and the Government will be directly responsible for this.”