Govt. vows to maintain essential services during strikesView(s):
By Senuka Jayakody
A string of strikes by trade unions have been organised for the coming week, but the government has vowed it will maintain essential services during those days.
Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) spokesperson Dr. Chamil Wijesinghe said their Central Committee held a meeting on Friday and decided to launch a strike tomorrow in the Western, Southern, Eastern and Central Provinces. In the other five provinces, the strike would be launched on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, March 15, all doctors would be on strike and further strikes would depend upon the response of the Government to the GMOA demand for a reduction of the taxes on their salaries.
However, Dr. Wijesinghe assured that doctors would maintain emergency services and would not be on strike at cancer hospitals, children’s hospitals, maternal, kidney, mental, and military hospitals.
Around 47 trade unions of the Professional Trade Union Alliance will join the strikes, as will all health sector trade unions.
Ceylon Bank Employees Union President Channa Dissanayake said they would be striking on March 15 if a solution was not reached by then.
The Professional Trade Union Alliance met the Finance Ministry Secretary on Friday.
It was told that the Government could not adjust the tax at least for another six months.
“My problem is how people are supposed to survive in this situation for another six months,” Mr. Dissanayake asked.
After the meeting, the bank union held an executive committee meeting and decided to declare a “Black Monday”. Bank employees would report to work tomorrow in black.
On Tuesday, there would be protests near the Lake House roundabout in Colombo while there would be protests in other major cities. On Wednesday, they would launch a strike if the Government refused to negotiate.
Mr. Dissanayake all bank employees would participate in the protest and the strike.
Ravi Kumudesh, the Convener of the Government and Semi-government Trade Union Coordination Centre said they would also launch a token strike on March 15.
The strike was based on five demands: reducing the bank interest rate, suspending the 15% slashing of salaries, providing an allowance of Rs. 20,000, providing a continuous supply of medicine and ceasing the suppression of trade union activity.
Ceylon Teachers Union General Secretary Joseph Stalin said teachers and principals island-wide would participate in the strike on March 15, with the approval of parents and students.
“We have received only one-third of our salary increase promised and parents cannot bear the expenses on stationery,” he said.
However, the Ceylon Electricity Board Technological Engineers and Superintendent Union was undecided on striking since its services are required to provide electricity to the country.
The Union’s Joint Secretary Nalin Patabendige said they were opposed to the policies of the Government, but would not conduct a strike, at least within the next week.
Meanwhile, Media and Transport and Highways Minister Bandula Gunawardena claimed that only the JVP-backed trade unions were involved in the strike.
However, other trade unions were intelligent enough to understand the situation of the country and the potential effect of striking, at a time when Sri Lanka was to receive the IMF facilities, he said.
“The situation is improving with fuel, gas and electricity being provided. But if these services are not being maintained, the Government does not have to respond but the people will,” the Minister said.
The best way to say that you found the home of your dreams is by finding it on Hitad.lk. We have listings for apartments for sale or rent in Sri Lanka, no matter what locale you're looking for! Whether you live in Colombo, Galle, Kandy, Matara, Jaffna and more - we've got them all!