More than 30,000 health sector employees on strike today

By Dilanthi Jayamanne

The Joint Council of Nursing, Professions Supplementary to Medicine and Paramedics warned yesterday that over 30,000 government health employees would resort to a token strike today (01) demanding that the government increase their allowances in proportion to doctors’.

President of the Sri Lanka Association of Government Medical Laboratory Technologists (SL AGMAT) affiliated to the professions supplementary to medicine Janaka Nishantha said yesterday that they demanded a Rs. 10,000 disturbance, availability and transport (DAT) allowance proportionate to the Rs. 25,000 paid to doctors and a Rs. 200 increase in overtime payments per hour in comparison to the Rs. 300 per hour being paid to medical officers.  

Nishantha said that the demands also include the extension of a Rs. 4,000 received by Special Grade categories as a telephone allowance to be extended to Grade One government health services as well. He said they demanded the Ministry resume giving Grade One promotions after a lapse of nine years. MLTs had not been promoted since 2006, Nishantha said.

Their other demands are rectification of salary anomalies created within the health professions by the 07/2008 circular issued for increments among technical services and duty free vehicle permits for Special Grades in all categories.

The Maharagama Cancer Institute, the National Blood Centre, Castle Street Hospital for Women, De Soysa Maternity Hospital and the Lady Ridgeway Hospital would be exempted from the strike, he said.

However a spokesman for the Health Ministry said that the unions were being unreasonable as the Ministry was unable to take decisions on financial matters. It had to work together with the Treasury to settle the issues, he added.

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