The Ministry of Defence says that tri-forces personnel have been mobilized to support hospital operations amid the island-wide strike launched by the health sector employees.

It said that tri-forces personnel were deployed to hospitals across the island following a request from the Ministry of Health.

Around 72 trade unions in the healthcare service excluding doctors have launched a 24-hour token strike from 6.30 a.m. today (16) while the trade unions have decided to carry out only essential duties.

The trade unions are launching this action demanding that the allowance increase of Rs. 35,000 provided to the doctors be granted to them as well.

However, it is said that this morning, Health Minister Dr. Ramesh Pathirana has also invited the striking trade unions to a discussion on the matter.

Acting Finance Minister Shehan Semasinghe says that he is to meet Health Minister Dr. Ramesh Pathirana later this evening to discuss the concerns of the health sector and find solutions.

Meanwhile, Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) Secretary Dr. Haritha Aluthge, yesterday said that the strike launched by the employees of the primary and secondary levels of the health service demanding an allowance which they are not eligible for, is an extremely bad precedent.

He said that these strikes are ridiculous and unethical as it is over the increase of the Disturbance, Availability and Transport (DAT) allowance which is a special allowance only for doctors as the most senior officials in the health sector.

He said that Article 12.1 of the constitution of the country states that equals should be treated equally, but there is no provision for equal treatment for unequals.

He further said that normally the GMOA does not interfere in actions initiated by another professional group over their grievances but added that this situation was special.

He said that the difference in salary levels and allowances up to a specific division in every sector of the country has been made after a specific study including responsibilities, educational qualifications and the nature of work.

Aluthge questioned on what basis the primary or secondary officers in that field are requesting a special allowance given for doctors, who are the most senior officials in the health service.



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