The Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) claims that the island-wide strike action organized by health sector employees is unjustified.
The Secretary of the GMOA Dr. Haritha Aluthge expressed that 50% of the wage demands made by the trade unions which are protesting the government’s decision to increase the Disturbance, Availability and Transport (DAT) allowance for doctors have been completed, and that only 15% of the requested increment have been received by the doctors.
“Their demand was to increase the salaries of government employees by Rs. 20,000. They have received Rs. 10,000 so far. It means that 50% of their demands are completed”, he said.
Dr. Aluthge also pointed out that the majority of the protesting health workers are related to the secondary level of government service, while another group of them are in the primary grade.
“The doctors are in the senior grade of the government service. This is hilarious that they are trying to be at the equal level as doctors”, he said.
“This is something that is not happening; and something that must not happen.”
Furthermore, Dr. Aluthge emphasized that it is an ‘illegal strike action’.
Against this backdrop, the All Ceylon Nurses’ Union has decided not to join the strike action to be launched jointly with over 75 health sector trade unions on Tuesday (16), but will only hold a demonstration in front of government hospitals during lunch time.
The Chief Secretary of the union H.M.S Mediwatte stated that this decision was taken in consideration of the inconvenience faced by the patients during health sector employees’ strikes.
He also expressed that the nursing officers from across the island will protest in front of the Health Ministry on Wednesday (17), and will launch a continuous trade union action until their demands are fulfilled.
The health sector employees’ trade unions decided to launch another 24-hour token strike starting from 06.30 a.m. tomorrow (Jan. 16), in protest of the government’s decision to increase DAT allowance for doctors by Rs. 35,000.
Earlier today, President of the Paramedical Services Front (PMSF) Upul Rohana mentioned that around 100,000 health workers including all paramedical services, hospital secretaries, administrative officers as well as health administrative assistants, minor staff and 75 other trade unions of the health staff will join together with this island-wide strike.
“This action will completely disrupt the hospital service. The government should understand that it is not possible to maintain medical services only with the doctors”, Upul Rohana said.
Meanwhile, the President of the Academy of Health Professionals Ravi Kumudesh expressed that if military forces are used to suppress the health workers’ strike, they will continue to carry out the trade union action even further.
Last week, the day-to-day functions of many hospitals across the island had come to a standstill, owing to several trade union actions launched by several health sector employees demanding an allowance of Rs 35,000.
On 08 January 2024, the Cabinet of Ministers gave the nod to President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s proposal to double the DAT allowance paid to government doctors, raising it from Rs. 35,000 to Rs. 70,000.