Docs in crucial meeting today to decide on strike


By Don Asoka Wijewardena 

The Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) General Committee comprising Presidents and General Secretaries attached to its 101 Branch Unions would take a final decision today whether to go ahead with the proposed countrywide strike on Feb. 21 or not.

 GMOA Assistant Secretary Dr. Navin de Soysa said yesterday that the budget speech made by the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa for 2015 had specifically mentioned the salary increments for consultants a service specific allowance of Rs. 20,000, Rs.10,000 for intermediate cadre and Disturbance, Availability and Transport Allowance (DAT) of Rs. 15,000. But, those revisions had not been included in their 2015 January salary though those increases had been granted to other professionals.

 Dr.Soysa said the GMOA was of the view that the budget speech made by the former President for 2015 had not been overridden by the interim budget introduced by the present government. So, the GMOA was asking the government to implement the increases with the February salaries of the doctors, because many of their members attached to the GMOA Branch unions were on the warpath over the non-implementation of the budget proposals.

 Although the GMOA had requested meetings with President Maithripala Sirisena, Secretary to the Finance Ministry etc., only Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayaka was willing to meet it on Feb. 12 to discuss the issue. The GMOA was an apolitical trade union which had been instrumental in providing welfare services to around 20,000 doctors scattered across the country, Dr. Soysa said. "If the government adds the due increases to the February salary the strike will be called off immediately."

 Health Secretary Dr. D. M. R. B. Dissanayaka, contacted for comment, said that the GMOA President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya had held talks with Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne over the issue and Minister Senaratne had agreed to add all the due increases to the February salary of the doctors. In accordance with the provisions incorporated in the National Wage Policy and Salary Compression Ratio of the professionals, the due increases would be added to the February salary of doctors, the Health Secretary said.

 Dr. Dissanayaka added that as far as he was aware there would not be any need for the GMOA to launch the scheduled strike as he was awaiting the final decision of Minister Senaratne to implement the additions to the February salary of the doctors.

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