Health strike brings people to their knees

The healthcare services across the country were hampered as health workers resorted to strike action from yesterday (1).

The strike was initiated at 6:30 a.m. by at least 72 trade unions within the health sector in protest of the government’s refusal to grant Disturbance, Availability, and Transport (DAT) allowance of Rs. 35,000 to the professionals.

The trade union action unfolded across all government hospitals, drawing attention to the concerns of supplementary medical professionals who feel overlooked in the government’s recent decision-making.

As such, patients within hospitals expressed their distress, citing inconveniences resulting from the disruption in healthcare services.

Ravi Kumudesh, President of the Joint Council for Professions of Supplementary Medicine, voiced strong opposition to the Cabinet’s choice to abstain from increasing the DAT allowance for health professionals.

This upheaval comes in the wake of the Cabinet’s approval, on Monday (Jan. 08), of President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s proposal to double the DAT allowance for government doctors, increasing it from Rs. 35,000 to Rs. 70,000.

Despite assurances from top government officials, including pledges of dialogue upon the President’s return from official international obligations, healthcare workers continue to feel disheartened by the absence of meaningful involvement.

Trade unions maintain that no concrete discussions have occurred since the President’s return, intensifying the growing dissatisfaction among healthcare professionals.

Nevertheless, the All Ceylon Nurses’ Union, a significant advocate in the healthcare sector, has chosen not to participate in the strike.

In response to the strike, the Sri Lanka Army deployed troops at various government hospitals island-wide to support operational activities.

You May also like