Warn of strike if demand ignored
Nurses want to be  categorized as professionals



By Dilanthi Jayamanne


The Government Nursing Officers’ Association (GNOA) yesterday warned they would resort to trade union action if Nurses too were not included into the ‘Professionals’ category that is entitled to a 25 percent increase in allowances, announced on Monday in the 2011 Budget. President of the GNOA Saman Ratnapriya, addressing a press briefing


yesterday (24) said the 2011 budget discriminated between health services.


Explaining he said the Budget proposals had given public sector employees a 5 per cent salary rise outside the pensionable pay and Rs 600 increase in the cost of living allowance. This would benefit all government employees. However, University academic staff, medical doctors, engineers and administrators were to receive an increase of 25 percent of their salaries as well.


The opposition Presidential candidate pledged to give a ten thousand rupee increment during the Presidential elections. But, despite this claim nearly 75 percent of public sector employees voted for President Mahinda Rajapaksa when he only pledged a two thousand rupee increase. Public servants hoped that they would at least receive a cost of living allowance of Rs. 3,700 with arrears as promised on a prior occasion.


Ratnapriya said that nurses too were accepted as professionals – nationally and internationally. They receive a training of almost four years, they have a special education system, they abide by a code of ethics, they have autonomy and they also have a Council of their own just like the doctors.


But it seems as if the government wants to make hospitals function only with the services of doctors, he said.


"We want to know if this is how the government plans to make Sri Lanka the Miracle of Asia," an Annoyed Ratnapriya queried. "Are they going to develop the country by creating disparities in the salaries of public employees."


Ratnapriya warned that they would give time only till next week for the relevant authorities to make the necessary adjustments to treat all equally.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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