Nurses on 48-hour strike today
By Dinitha Rathnayake
A group of health sector nurses’ trade unions will embark on a 48-hour strike from 7 a.m. today (1), citing unmet demands concerning promotions and facilities afforded to nurses.
Speaking to The Morning, Government Nursing Officers’ Association (GNOA) Head Saman Rathnapriya said the strike would last for 48 hours, calling for nine demands to be met, including those concerning promotions, facilities, and the amendment of the nursing service constitution.
“The strike will not disturb Covid-19-related activities or hospital facilities pertaining to the treatment of cancer patients, children, and pregnant women,” he said.
Accordingly, this strike will not take place at 125 hospitals where Covid-19-related special treatments are carried out.
Rathnapriya said three trade unions will participate in this strike, including all nursing officers’ unions.
Meanwhile, the Supplementary Medical Professions, Sri Lanka yesterday (30) has announced that they too are preparing for a 48-hour strike over the aforementioned demands of nurses, according to College of Medical Laboratory Science (CMLS) President Ravi Kumudesh.
Speaking to The Morning, Kumudesh said that six unions will participate in this 48-hour strike, where the unions have given a 48-hour period for the Ministry of Health to discuss their demands.
“The 48-hour period will start today (for the Ministry) to make a decision related to our demands. If the health authorities are unable to react within 48 hours, we would go for the strike as planned,” Kumudesh added.
Previously, the All Ceylon Health Trade Union Federation (ACHTUF) had withdrawn from their duties effective from 11 June, where the Medical Laboratory Professionals’ Association, the GNOA, the Public Health Inspectors’ Union (PHI’s Union), the Family Health Service Officers’ Association, and several other health trade unions had joined the token strike.
The ACHTUF resorted to the token strike over the following demands: The provision of a reasonable allowance for non-medical health staffers in comparison to the 78% increase in the additional allowance for the medical service, reaching a definite decision to fill the health staff vacancies, the elimination of cuts in health staff allowances and anomalies in allowances, and the provision of transport facilities free of charge for health workers on Covid-19 duties.