Provincial non-medical health TUs commence strikes

  • First strike held yesterday in North Western Province; another today in Central

BY Buddhika Samaraweera

Non-medical health sector trade unions (TUs), including those in the nursing and paramedical services, launched a token strike in the North Western Province yesterday (8), as the first phase of a series of strikes which will be launched covering all provinces, over seven demands including resolving issues of salary anomalies and promotions.

According to College of Medical Laboratory Science (CMLS) President Ravi Kumudesh, health professionals related to nursing and paramedical services in all hospitals and other government health institutions in the North Western Province did not report for duty yesterday. They had also staged a protest in front of the Kurunegala Teaching Hospital.

Commenting on the series of protests to be launched in all provinces in the coming days, he told the media yesterday that the issues faced by paramedical and nursing services have already been conveyed to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, Minister of Finance Basil Rajapaksa, Minister of Health Keheliya Rambukwella, and all other relevant authorities. However, he said the Government has not yet responded to their demands positively.

“We have drawn the attention of all the authorities to the issues we face, but so far, the Government has not paid attention to resolving them. Therefore, we have decided to launch the second phase of the trade union struggle. Accordingly, a one-day strike will be held in all provinces on separate days. We are waging this struggle from province to province in order to prevent the people from being inconvenienced,” Kumudesh claimed.

Speaking further, he said the first of the series of such strikes was launched in the North Western Province, while the second is planned for today (9) in the Central Province. He added that both strikes and protests will be launched on a province-by-province basis in the coming days.

Furthermore, Kumudesh warned that if the Government fails to respond positively to their demands even after these trade union actions, all services provided by the paramedical and nursing personnel will be entirely suspended in the future. He charged that the Government, which is creating the environment for such a serious course of action, should be held responsible for all inconveniences caused to the people in such a situation.

Earlier, nursing and paramedical services trade unions launched a token strike Islandwide for 48 hours from 7 a.m. on 24 November due to the said issues they face. In addition to the strike, several protests were held. They also organised a motorcade in Colombo on 30 November, demanding that the Government provide immediate solutions to their issues including salary and promotion-related issues.