Health trade unions on strike to stage protests in six districts today

The island-wide strike launched by 18 trade unions in the health sector, including those affiliated with nursing, supplementary and paramedical services, entered its fourth consecutive day today (February 10).

The trade unionists said they intend to intensify the strike action as their demands were not met with a favourable response.

Speaking on the matter, Co-convener of the Federation of Health Professionals, Saman Ratnapriya said nearly 65,000 health workers have joined this indefinite strike action which commenced at 7.00 a.m. Monday (Feb. 07).

“We were unable to take a decision as the discussion held with the Health Minister ended unsuccessfully. The minister said he needs to consult the government in order to resolve salary anomalies. Although agreements were reached on certain issues, we could not halt the strike as solutions were not provided for the main issue.”

He also stated that health workers on strike are planning to stage a series of protests in six districts including Matara, Badulla and Mahiyanganaya today, between 11.00 a.m. and 1.00 p.m.

The trade union action is based on multiple demands including 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, the establishment of a ‘Health Administration Service’ representing all health professionals and the delays in providing solutions to problems that have arisen for health professionals.

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

As the discussions held with the Minister of Health yesterday had little to no effect in meeting their demands, the health sector trade unions decided to continue with their island-wide strike.

The trade union action crippled the hospital services and patients are gravely affected by the move. – ada derana

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