MLTs threaten strike over their allowances

By Dilanthi Jayamanne

 Medical Laboratory Technologists (MLT) yesterday warned that they would resort to a countrywide strike on Friday (01) if the government failed to rectify several allowance anomalies, which include the disturbance, availability and transport (DAT) allowance.  

General Secretary, of the Sri Lanka Association of Government Medical Laboratory Technologists (SLA-GMLT), Wasantha Gunawardhane said they wanted the allowances proportionally increased in line with those of medical officers. The DAT allowances for medical officers had increased from Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 25,000 over the last five years. However, MLTs were only paid a paltry sum of a little over Rs. 1,000. He demanded that the amount be increased to Rs. 10,000.

The demands also include resumption of Grade One promotions after a lapse of nine years. MLTs had not been promoted from 2006 which had a serious impact on salary anomalies. Although a committee had been appointed to look into the matter five years ago nothing had been done so far, he said.

Gunawardhane warned that 1,500 MLTS in hospitals countrywide would join the strike if nothing was done within the next three days to settle the issues.

Meanwhile, the Joint Council of Nursing, Professions Supplementary to Medicine and Paramedics said the SLAGMLT would be a part of their group which was scheduled to carry out a 24-hour strike at the end of the week. The Health Ministry pledged to address their demands at a meeting on Oct. 14. It was given a deadline till Wednesday (30) to meet their demands.

The MLTs’ demands also include a proportional increase of over time allowance, a telephone allowance and a once-in-a-life time vehicle permit to PSM, nurses and paramedics. The striking group would include approximately 116 categories in the government health service.

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