JCPSM members to strike, demanding the same allowance as doctors

By Don Asoka Wijewardena

The Joint Council of Professions Supplementary to Medicine (JCPSM) will launch a one-day strike on March 12 from 7.00 a.m. to 7.00 am the following day unless they were given the same Rs.15,000 Disturbance, Availability and Transport Allowance (DAT) as doctors.

JCPSM General Secretary Saman Jayasekera told The Island that about seventeen professions such as nurses, medical laboratory technologists, x-ray technicians, physiotherapists, pharmacists, dental surgery assistants, phlebotomists, ECG technicians and all the other medical personnel would keep away from work on March 12 in protest of the DAT Allowance being given only to doctors.

Jayasekera maintained that the doctors could not perform their duties without the help of the personnel attached to the JCPSM. In every division of the medical profession the services provided by the personnel in the JCPSM were extremely important, he argued.

Around 45,000 personnel attached to the JCPSM would participate in the token strike, Jayasekera said. The JCPSM had held several discussions with the Ministries of Finance, Public Administration and Health to win their demands, he said. "But all those meetings ended inconclusively."

GMOA Assistant Secretary Dr. Nalinda Herath, contacted for GMOA’s comment, said other health personnel should not make unfair demands.

"The doctors are entitled to the DAT Allowance as they are responsible for the patient care. The doctors never claim the allowances other categories of health workers are entitled to. However, even if the government granted the DAT Allowance to other categories, the GMOA would not mind it," Dr. Herath said.

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