Doctors’ strike cripples Govt. hospitals

Published : 8:50 am  December 4, 2015 | No comments so far |  |  (1080) reads | 


By Sandun A Jayasekera
The government healthcare services came to a standstill while the public service was partly disrupted yesterday due to a sick-note campaign launched by professionals attached to the public sector over the withdrawal of concessionary vehicle permits and two other demands.   

The OPD, clinics and cardio-thoracic units were the most affected from the one-day strike launched by members of the Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA). 
Financial transactions, the issuance of cheques and cash payments that had to be approved by accountants at ministries and departments were also not possible because the accountants were on sick leave.    
Health Secretary Anura Jayawickrama said the GMOA had informed the Health Ministry about the token strike only on Wednesday and all precautionary measures had been taken to minimize the difficulties to patients attending government hospitals.
The GMOA had said that its executive committee had decided to launch a strike at countrywide hospitals yesterday from 8.00 a.m. urging an urgent resolution to their demands — basic salary revision according to the National Wage Policy, reactivation of concessionary vehicle permit and that tax relief be provided for allowances added to the salary.

Those who joined the token strike included the GMOA, the Sri Lanka Administrative Services’ Association, Government Ayurvdic Doctors’ Association, State Service Engineers’ Union, Sri Lanka Plan Implementation Services’ Association, Government Veterinary Surgeons Association, Sri Lanka Education Administrative Officers’ Association, Sri Lanka non-Executive Surveyors’ Association, Graduate Officers Association of the Survey General’s Department, Government Dental Officers’ Association, Sri Lanka Accountants Association, Government Scientific Officers’ Association, Collective of  Sri Lanka Agricultural Officers’ Trade Unions, Sri Lanka Audit Officers’  Association, Labour Commissioners’ Association, Sri Lanka Teacher-Education Union and Sri Lanka Technical Education Services’ Union.Untitled-5
Professionals in the public sector including engineers, accountants and senior public servants were also on sick leave thus crippling the public service.  
The Ministry Secretaries and Heads of Departments did not join the workstopage.
Government Ayurvedic Doctors Association General Secretary Dr. Nimal Karunasiri said the token strike was meant to protect the dignity and the self respect of professionals in the public service.
“The government has committed a grave injustice to public servants by depriving them of their privileges and rights through the 2016 Budget. We haven’t been granted a salary increase since 2006. 
Before the budget, the government promised to add the allowances to the basic salary but instead has deprived us of several privilege enjoyed by us,” Dr. Karunasiri said. 
He said this budget will go into history as the only budget that had failed to give even a single benefit to public servants. 
Meanwhile, the GMOA announced last afternoon that the one-day token strike launched yesterday was scheduled to end at 8.00 am this morning(4).
 Dr. De Soyza said the next course of action against the negative effects on professionals, and doctors in particular, of  budget 2016 would be taken after a discussion with President Maithripala Sirisena scheduled to be held at the Parliamentary complex at 10.00 am today.   
The GMOA’s central committee will meet at noon today to discuss the outcome of the discussion with President Sirisena, he added.

Vehicle permits not our objective — GMOA

By Piyumi Fonseka
While opposing the budget proposal not to pay pensions in future and to introduce a new contributory pension scheme instead, the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) said yesterday that their trade union action was not launched just to obtain concessionary vehicle permits.

Speaking at a press conference last evening, GMOA spokesman Dr.Navin de Soysa said that many thought the strike’s objective was to win personal benefits for themselves, but the real objective was to improve the whole state service of Sri Lanka.
“Our strike was not launched to obtain vehicle permits. The strike was to keep our usual pension scheme which was introduced a long time ago. Just because the state expenditure on pensions is high, abolishing them is not the solution,” he said.