Docs give notice of a strike within ten days

By Don Asoka Wijewardena

The Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya warned the government that the GMOA General Committee which met yesterday 29 had taken a unanimous decision to launch a token strike within the next 10 days in protest at the non-payment of the Disturbance, Availability and Transport Allowance (DAT).

Dr. Padeniya told The Island that though President Mahinda Rajapaksa had agreed to increase the DAT Allowance to Rs. 29,000 from Rs.15,000, in 2008 the GMOA had to wait due to huge expenditure on the war. Four years had passed, but no tangible action had been taken by the government so far. Approximately 16,000 doctors attached to the GMOA would keep away from work on the day of the strike.

He pointed out that almost all the doctors in the GMOA were disappointed over the inaction of the government to pay the revised DAT Allowance as promised by the President. The GMOA had held a series of discussions n this regard with the Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena, Secretary to the Health Ministry Dr. Ravindra Ruberu, Treasury Chief Dr. P. B. Jayasundara, Public Administration and Home Affairs Minister John Seneviratne and Officials of the Salaries and Cadre Commission.

Dr. Padeniya added that the concerned authorities seemed to be reluctant to issue a Circular granting Rs. 29,000 as DAT Allowance. The Secretary to the Health Ministry Dr.Ravindra Ruberu in concurrence with the Treasury, Public Administration Ministry and the Salaries and Cadre Commission was supposed to issue the Circular. But until now a Circular had not been issued. "It is the crux of the problem. The government is trying to take us for a ride. Deception has become the means of their survival. The GMOA is not responsible for any inconvenience caused by the strike to people, "Dr. Padeniya stressed.

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