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Health sector workers to resort to another strike

Health sector employees’ trade unions have decided to resort to another strike action starting February 01, if the government fails to address their issues.

Although the President had promised to hold talks with them regarding the allowances, soon after returning from his recent official overseas tour, the health workers said they have yet to meet with the Head of State for discussions.

Meanwhile, a series of protests is planned to be staged in front of hospitals in and around Colombo today.

On January 08, the Cabinet of Ministers gave the approval 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.

Since then, the health sector employees’ trade unions representing a wide range of health sector professionals, including radiology and laboratory technicians, pharmacists and drug compounders, midwives, dental surgeons, public health inspectors, and entomology officers launched strikes on multiple occasions in protest of the government’s decision and demanding an allowance increase for all health sector employees.

On January 23, the government decided to temporarily half the payment of DAT allowance for doctors citing insufficient funds. Director General of Health Services Dr. Asela Gunawardena stated that although the necessary arrangements were made for the payment of the said allowance, the Treasury had not provided funds within the approved allocation limit.

This prompted the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) to announce the launch of an indefinite strike action starting January 24. However, it was later called off the planned trade union action, after the decision to suspend the DAT allowance payments was rolled back.

source adaderana

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