Health trade unions launch strike

Eighteen health sector trade unions including those affiliated with nursing, supplementary and paramedical services have commenced an indefinite strike action this morning (07).

The trade unions say that the strike was launched from 7.00 a.m. today based on several demands including the addressing of salary anomalies.

However, the strike will not take place at cancer, maternity and pediatric hospitals, hospitals for treatment of kidney diseases as well as the central blood bank. The strike will also not be extended to emergency and lifesaving services.

Speaking regarding the strike launched today, the President of the Public Health Inspector’s Union of Sri Lanka Upul Rohana said that with regard to controlling Covid-19 virus, they intend to volunteer to do the essential duties of releasing bodies and hospitalizing critically ill patients.

In addition to that, he said, they will also volunteer to provide assistance when necessary if issues concerning Covid-19 develop at examination centres where the G.C.E. Advanced Level exam is being held.

He further said that they have resorted to this indefinite strike after continuously discussing regarding their demands and following a series of basic trade union struggles related to the demands.

Mr. Rohana said that they are aware of the prevailing serious situation in the country and that Covid-19 infected patients are reported in large numbers at ground level.

He emphasized that it is the responsibility of the authorities of the Ministry of Health as well as the Government to control without any hindrance to the people after the commencement of this trade union action.

Co-convener of the Federation of Health Professionals, Saman Ratnapriya stated yesterday that nurses, medical laboratory scientists, pharmacists, public health inspectors (PHIs) and several other health sector professionals are expected join the strike action.

The island-wide strike will be stages based on demands including the transforming health professional services into closed services, increasing the special duty allowance to Rs. 10,000, eliminating parallel salary anomalies caused by eliminating only teacher salary anomalies, establishment of a ‘Health Administration Service’ representing all health professionals and the delays in providing solutions to problems that have arisen for health professionals.

Meanwhile the President of the Public Service United Nurses’ Union, Ven. Muruththettuwe Ananda Thero says that his association will not support the strike action.  – Ada derana

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