Wage controversy cripples Sri Lanka hospitals

[TamilNet, Saturday, 20 March 2004, 11:19 GMT]
All Sri Lanka government hospitals virtually dead for the last nine days in the island due to the strike by medical officers has been limping back to normalcy Saturday as the Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) temporarily called off their trade union action Friday evening, health authorities said.

Medical officers returned to work Saturday after nine days as the Finance Minister Mr.K.N.Choksy Friday appointed a five-member committee comprising senior public servants to look into the demands of GMOA and report by March 26.

The GMOA main demand has been to rectify salary anomalies created by a circular issued by the Health Ministry last month to settle the strike by the health sector employees who also demanded that their salary anomalies be removed, sources said.

Meanwhile the health sector trade union alliance comprising more than 50 trade unions Saturday issued a warning to health ministry that it would come out on strike if the salaries of medical officers were adjusted again.

The doctors struck work protesting that a February 2 circular issued by the Health Ministry had put salaries of other health sector workers unreasonably above those of some doctors, sources said.

In the meantime the committee appointed by the Finance Minister Friday has called for views and proposals from all trade unions to avoid further disturbances in the entire public sector including the health services when a scheme to remove salary anomalies is formulated, sources said.

A delegation of the GMOA is scheduled to meet the President Ms Chandrika Kumaratunge on Monday to hold further discussion on its demands and grievances, sources said.


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