GMOA issues a two-week ultimatum

Published : 9:00 am  December 22, 2015 | No comments so far |  |  (1052) reads | 

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Angry pedestrains and motorists are seen asking the protesting students of the South Eastern University’s Engineering Faculty to move out of the road without inconviencing the road users.
PIC BY NISAL BADUGE

BY LAHIRU POTHMULLA

The Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) yesterday issued a two-week ultimatum to the Government to resolve the concerns on the budget proposals pertaining to state sector employees, the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) and the proposed Indo-Lanka trade agreement. GMOA Secretary Dr. Nalinda Herath said if the government failed to do so, the GMOA would launch a massive trade union action together with other trade unions during the first week of January.

He told a news conference that they had received positive responses with regard to some of the budget proposals but said the responses were not completely satisfactory. “During the budget debate on Saturday there was mention made on granting vehicle permits to state employees but it is not trustworthy and had not been gazetted yet. The government had also given no assurance to confirm that state employees will receive pension from next year as usual,”

Dr. Herath said. While commending the increase in the basic salary of state sector employees, he said the increment had reduced the gap between the salary comparison ratio and said this was not a healthy development. “Our view is that the salary comparison ratio should be 1 to 12 between the lowest salary and the highest in the state sector. This gap is needed to prevent brain drain. Today, with the salary increment, the ratio had been reduced to 1:3.5 from the previous 1:4. When government adds Rs.10,000 increase in future, the ratio gap will reduce further,” Dr. Herath said. Meanwhile, he reiterated that the proposed trade agreement with India would affect the job opportunities in Sri Lanka as Indian employees would arrive in the country.

“The unemployed population in India is more than the entire population of Sri Lanka. If they are employed here, we will also have issues about their standard of work,” he said. Dr. Herath urged the government to take over SAITM and the Neville Fernando Hospital so as to provide standard and quality education to the medial students. “We will give an ultimatum of two weeks to the government to look into these issues. In the meantime, we will interact in writing with it. We will alert the people on the repurcussions of the budget proposals. If we do not receive a positive response after two weeks we will resort to trade union action to win our demands,” he said.