NE doctors strike over pay discrimination

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 07 November 2001, 12:16 GMT]
More than four hundred residential medical officers serving in Northeast provincial hospitals went on strike Wednesday, demanding that they should also be paid special mission allowance as presently awarded to non-residential medical officers. "The medical services in government hospitals in the northeast province have come to a standstill Wednesday due to the strike as more than one hundred non-residential doctors also have struck work to express their solidarity,"a spokesman of the Government Medical Officers' Association (GMOA) said Wednesday.

"However, action has been taken to provide emergency medical services,"a provincial health ministry official said.

Batticaloa Hospital. (TamilNet Library photo.)
"Almost all residential medical officers serving in northeast are Tamils. About one hundred and twenty non-residential medical officers serving in northeast are Sinhalese and Muslims from other provinces. Depriving the payment of special mission allowance to residential medical officers in northeast would be considered as an act of racism," said a GMOA spokesman at the press briefing held Wednesday morning at the Trincomalee base hospital

"Residential and non-residential medical officers work jointly in northeast province. Hence paying special mission allowance to non-residential doctors and depriving the same facility to residential medical officers is a discriminatory act. The leadership of the Government Medical Officers' Association has extended its full support to the strike by non-residential medical officers," Dr.A.S.Uduwela, President of the Trincomalee district branch of the GMOA said.

"Following a series of discussions between the Ministry of Health and the GMOA's delegation earlier, the cabinet approved to pay a special mission allowance at the rate of ten thousand rupees per month for only one year to all medical officers, residential and non-residential, to compensate the high cost of living and other day to day expenses in the war-torn northeast province. However the treasury released funds for the payment of special mission allowance to non-residential medical officers and not to residential personnel ", he said.


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