PSMs to decide on strike today

  • Pending Cabinet memorandum on demands 

BY Dinitha Rathnayake

Health sector employees in professions supplementary to medicine (PSMs) are to decide on going ahead with tomorrow’s (14) planned strike action over unmet demands, today (13).

Speaking to The Morning, Joint Council of PSMs President Ravi Kumudesh said that the Health Ministry’s plans concerning the Cabinet memorandum submitted on the PSMs’ demands would be known late yesterday.

Those employed in the PSMs on Sunday (11) claimed that the Health Ministry does not yet have a proper plan for the submission of the relevant Cabinet memorandum which Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi had agreed to. Wanniarachchi had agreed to provide the same relief to those employed in the PSMs which was earlier provided for nurses.

The letter issued under the signature of Director General of Health Services (DGHS) Dr. Asela Gunawardena on 6 July, mentioned that Wanniarachchi had agreed to submit the relevant Cabinet paper containing the union’s demands to the next Cabinet of Ministers meeting to be held yesterday.

She also handed over a document in writing that the demands would be met and that the demands granted for the nursing staff should be equally given to other affiliated unions as well. Kumudesh said: “We have observed that the Health Ministry does not yet have a proper plan for the submission of the relevant Cabinet memorandum and we also emphasise that arrangements by various other parties will not be accepted.”

PSMs have called off their strike action following talks with Wanniarachchi on 6 July, saying: “We temporarily suspended our strike action until yesterday. However, we would launch our strike if Wanniarachchi is unable to bring our demands to the Cabinet.”

These trade unions represent laboratory technicians, radiologists, pharmacists, as well as public health inspectors.
The Joint Council of PSMs was unhappy about President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s decision to provide immediate solutions to five out of the seven demands made by the Public Services United Nurses’ Union. The President assured to provide solutions to the other two demands from the next Budget during a meeting held with the nurses’ union leaders.

The Joint Council of PSMs warned that they too would be compelled to take trade union action unless the Health Ministry took action to redress their grievances, especially with regard to including their services in the gazette notification that addressed the issues of the nurses.