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Prolonged strike by doctors and nurses cripples Sri Lanka's health services

Health services in Sri Lanka, already buffeted by an economic crisis, remain badly affected for a week now as hundreds of doctors and nurses continue their protests across the country for a slew of demands and are refusing to call off the strike despite a court order and a presidential gazette that notified the sector as essential services

Feb 15, 2022
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Prolonged strike by doctors and nurses cripples Sri Lanka's health services (Photo: Wsws)

Health services in Sri Lanka, already buffeted by an economic crisis, remain badly affected for a week now as hundreds of doctors and nurses continue their protests across the country for a slew of demands and are refusing to call off the strike despite a court order and a presidential gazette that notified the sector as essential services. 

On Monday, hundreds of protestors marched outside the Office of President Colombo, seeking a resolution to salary anomalies, an increase in the special duty allowance to SLR 10,000 ( roughly $49 ) among other issues.

Last week, the Colombo district court issued two orders against the Government Nursing Officers Association (GNOA), one of the unions involved in the strike, and its president Saman Ratnapriya, asking for the suspension of their trade union action until 24 February 24, reported Economynext. 

However, unions exploited a loophole in the court ruling, disassociating the GNOA from the protest. Other unions which were not mentioned in the court ruling continued their protest. On Friday last week, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared the public health sector as an essential service.

Health sector trade union workers are at loggerheads with the government ever since Rajapaksa appointed top military officials to oversee the health sector during the first COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020.

(SAM)

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