Health workers launch hunger strike

[TamilNet, Monday, 26 January 2004, 17:28 GMT]
A group of forty senior members of the Health Services Trade Union Alliance (HSTUA ) Monday around noon launched a fast unto death campaign opposite to the Health Ministry office in Colombo, demanding the removal of salary anomalies and payment of arrears fully in one installment once a solution is found. Earlier, the HSTUA high command rejected the compromise formula prepared by the Health Ministry on a directive from Prime Minister Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe, health ministry sources said.

HSTUA spokesman Mr.Saman Ratnapriya told media persons that they could not agree to the sub-committee report on resolving salary anomaly.

HSTUA sources said the fast unto death campaign has been launched without putting patients into difficulties. "The government would be held responsible if our members who are on hunger strike fell into difficulties," the trade union's spokesman warned.

Health ministry has agreed to remove the salary anomaly. But ministry and trade union officials could not reach a formula regarding the payment of arrears once the salary anomaly is removed, sources said.

According to the report prepared by the sub-committee as directed by the Prime Minister, fifty percent of salary arrears would be paid immediately and the balance would be paid in two annual installments. The government said it could not pay the arrears in one installment due to financial constraints. The HSTUA totally rejected the compromise formula, Mr.Ratnapriya said.


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