GMOA on the warpath again: Warns of trade union action


Government doctors are poised to launch another round of fresh trade union action over two key issues revolving around what the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) termed "failure to resolve the SAITM crisis and official inaction towards pushing up the basic salaries plus extra duty allowances of doctors".

The powerful GMOA’s General Committee is expected to meet tomorrow (Monday) to decide on the course of ‘drastic measures’ to be adopted to spur the government to act decisively as, according to a senior trade unionist, "we have waited enough now".

"We will have to resort to strike action to win our demands as there is dragging of feet and total disinterest in addressing these issues, which have impacted adversely on the government health sector", says GMOA’s Executive Committee member, Dr. Nalinda Herath.

He said that despite an assurance the abolition of SAITM and setting out of minimum standards, these have still not been gazetted, though a December 31, 2017 deadline was announced.

In addition to the unresolved SAITM issue, the GMOA’s proposals submitted more than one year ago to increase basic salaries and the DAT (Disturbance, Availability and Transport) allowance of doctors have still not been considered, he asserted.

"It points to taking revenge on government doctors because of our opposition on SAITM", Herath claimed. "That’s why we are being sidelined when salaries of certain other categories are increased from time to time".

The selective upward revision of salaries, as done as a practice now, is in contravention of the national wage policy, he protested. "There are parallel categories which have to be also considered, but that doesn’t happen any more".

When nurses resort to strike action, their salaries are increased, but in terms of the national wage policy, the remuneration of teachers in the parallel category should also be pushed up in such a backdrop, Herath pointed out.

"The position now is that certain selective categories are bestowed with increments, while those in the parallel segments are ignored", he said.

The Rs. 35,000 monthly transport allowance now granted to government doctors is insufficient to meet their official obligations, he noted. "Even the vehicle permit was downgraded with the entitlement restricted to two for the whole period of service of a doctor".

(See page 14 for interview with GMOA Assistant Secretary, Dr. Naveen D. Soyza on the SAITM issue)

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