Health sector salary dispute between docs and others heats up

by Dilanthi Jayamanne

The Trade Union Coalition for a Just Society (TUCJS) yesterday lashed out at the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) claiming that it was the only union that opposed the salary increase of Rs. 5,000 to government sector employees.

 Addressing a media briefing in its Office at Punchi Borella, Convenor of the TUCJS, Saman Ratnapriya, said that President Maithripala Sirisena had, in his manifesto, pledged to increase the salaries of government and private sector employees. "He pledged to increase the salaries of government employees by Rs. 10,000. However, considering the country’s economic status the TUCJS agreed to a Rs. 5,000 increment at the preliminary stage.

"We hope the government will not be swayed by the GMOA and go back on its word during today’s (29) interim budget proposals."

Ratnapriya accused the GMOA top rankers of scheming against the entire government sector. The basis of paying a salary was to ensure that a person could live his/her life free of want. "Professional qualifications and the responsibility of the position that a person holds is secondary," he observed.

 The doctors’ union was only interested in increasing its own salaries while ensuring that the salaries of others remained low. He said that formerly the ratio between the salary scale of doctors and the rest of the health service had been 1:3.8 however, the GMOA had managed to increase this difference to 1:4 and later to 1:4.25

 The TUCJS challenged the GMOA to call for a similar increase in the allowances that were paid to them as well. "If they want to maintain 1:4.25 ratio in salaries, then let them also maintain the same difference in the allowances as well," he said. However the remaining employees in the government service

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