Health TUs to protest tomorrow
- Demand redress for promotion anomalies, Covid-19 allowance
- Two-day strike planned for 23 November due to no answer from Govt.
By Dinitha Rathnayake
After giving Health Ministry officials an ultimatum of one week to seek an answer for their demands, including those pertaining to eliminating the anomalies in promotions and the issuance of promotion-related circulars, and increasing special allowances, 16 health sector trade unions have decided to stage a protest in front of the Health Ministry tomorrow (17) whilst announcing a two-day strike from 23 November.
Speaking to The Morning, Government Nursing Officers’ Association (GNOA) President Saman Rathnapriya said that the Health Ministry is yet to respond to their strike action held on 9 November and that therefore, one week was given for them to provide an answer.
“Yesterday (15), we had a special meeting with the participation of 16 health sector trade unions and decided on our next action; however, this will be an action which the ministry officials will never forget,“ he claimed. According to Rathnapriya, around 2,000 union members would participate in the protest. Rathnapriya said that 16 trade unions affiliated with the health sector including nurses, pharmacists, medical laboratory technologists, public health inspectors (PHIs), and midwives will participate in this trade union action.
Meanwhile, the 16 health sector trade unions also decided to have a strike action on 24 and 25 November covering all the hospitals in Sri Lanka. “There are around 1,103 hospitals in Sri Lanka and the strike would take place everywhere except at those which provide emergency services such as those for cancer patients and those that provide child care.”
A total of 16 health sector trade unions launched a strike action on 9 November in 152 hospitals islandwide, in connection with demands pertaining to eliminating the anomalies in promotions and the issuance of promotion-related circulars, and increasing the special allowances, among others. The strike action lasted for 25 hours in 49 central government hospitals, 103 local government hospitals, and 293 medical officer of health offices around the country. Around 55,000 health staff participated in this strike action; however, emergency services and Covid-19-related services continued as normal.
Earlier, a lunchtime protest and a countrywide health workers’ strike were held on 22 and 27 September, respectively, mainly on the non-payment of the Covid-19 special allowance
“We are exerting pressure on the Health Ministry to immediately implement requests such as those pertaining to eliminating the anomaly in promotions and the issuance of promotion-related circulars, and increasing the special allowances given to health professionals from Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 10,000,” Rathnapriya said.