Small nurses union stages Satyagraha

By Dilanthi Jayamanne

 The Government Nursing Officers’ Association (GNOA) yesterday announced the staging of a sathyagraha today (30) to demand an increase in the risk and travel allowances of nurses.

GNOA President Saman Ratnapriya said that they also demanded a five-day work week and grade promotions for last year and this year.

He said the GNOA had held discussions with the Health Ministry last Friday, during which they had discussed the Gazette notification, issued early this month, in which provincial councils were empowered to recruit 75 per cent of the nursing staff required.

According to the notice, nurses had to serve in their first appointments under provincial hospitals for ten years while they were banned from private practice. Ratnapriya said that the two regulations violated human rights and human relationships as well. If a nurse had to serve at his or her first station in the same province for ten years she or he will not be able to marry a person from another province until the period of service was completed.

However, the GNOA was able to bring down the number of years to five during which they should serve under the provincial council as well as annul the ban against private practice for nurses.

The Ministry also agreed to settle the nursing graduate issue, he said. However, it held that monitory matters, which involved the increases in overtime, travel and risk allowances would have to be settled by the Treasury, Ratnapriya said.

The two-hour sathyagraha would commence at 11.00 a.m. at all hospitals, including the National Hospital and the Maharagama Cancer Institute, where main demonstrations are scheduled to be held.

The Chief of the much bigger Public Service United Nurses Union (PSUNU) Ven. Muruttetuwe Ananda Thera said the GNOA was only after publicity especially with regard to the recruitment of nurses through provincial councils. He said that being posted to home stations eased the tension among nurses with the first appointment itself. It lessened the number of transfer requests from nurses.


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