Health sector TUs prompt ILO to protect their rights

By Leon Berenger

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has taken up a complaint by local trade unions involved in the country’s Health sector regarding irregularities and disparities faced by the workers.

In a joint statement by the Health Services Trade Union Alliance (HSTUA), Trade Union Confederation (TUC) and the Government Nursing Officers Association (GNOA), it called on the world body to pressure the Government to adhere to the ILO’s Conventions.

Among a list of allegations made by the unions, the ILO has been asked to intervene on the alleged violations of the workers’ right to engage in legitimate trade union action, intimidation of activists and discriminations in the Health sector owing to personal political affiliations.

Spokesman for the grouping, Anton Marcus told the Sunday Times that the ILO has already taken up the issue with the Committee on Freedom of Association, and that, follow-up action with the Government will follow on a later date.

“We consider these violations to be of a grave and serious nature. The implications of these restrictions by the authorities is a serious threat to workers’ rights, as endorsed by the ILO,” he said. He added that the ILO had informed the group that it was treating the matter with utmost seriousness and the Government in Colombo will be sounded off accordingly towards this end.

Meanwhile, in a related development, the Free Trade Zone Workers Union (FTZWU) has written to the newly appointed Inspector General of Police (IGP) N.K. Illangakoon, on the incidents that took place inside the Zone on May 24 and 30.

“The main purpose of this letter was to keep the issue alive, and explain in detail, what exactly took place on those two days, which eventually resulted in the killing of a young factory hand shot by police,” a spokesman for the FTZWU said yesterday.

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