The Government Medical Officers’ Association, better known as the GMOA is planning on making a grand start to 2018 in their own way with an island-wide strike.
But why?, the Government announced it’s recommendations on SAITM, to which the GMOA agreed.
This time, it’s not SAITM -not entirely.
The main reason put forward by the GMOA is a promised salary hike of Rs. 10,000 for all public servants except for Doctors in the Health Ministry.
According to the GMOA, the promise was made during elections, and they say there is no alternative if the Ministry of Health Secretary “fails to produce recommendations on amending the allowances”.
Dr. Haritha Aluthge, Secretary of the GMOA said: “The budget has done away with all tax relief and concessions given to these doctors for their extra services.”
The GMOA did not forget to mention SAITM at the press brief, saying if the institution is not abolished by December 31st, “we will have to resort to more strict action after the first of January next year (2018)”.
‘Jealous and enraged’
National Unity Front leader Azath Salley has pointed out that the GMOA has always rejected solutions given regarding the SAITM issue.
Salley also recalled how the GMOA agreed to Dr. Harsha De Silva’s recommendations, though they are threatening over the matter again.
“They need to have a plan in place. These people are jealous and enraged. They don’t want these children to be educated.”
NUF leader also held the GMOA accountable for the working days lost to strikes.
‘Diverting the damage?’
Despite what the GMOA is saying, Grade Medical Officers’ Union secretary Dr. Niroshan Premaratne says that the issue is “not about the salary”.
The GMOA says that a draft to amend the medical ordinance was presented to cabinet and it was gazetted as a bill.
According to Dr. Premaratne, this creates a register of all specialist doctors. This makes sure that an ordinary doctor cannot engage in operations or surgeries. “It was the Government Medical Officers’ Association who started with that register.”
Dr. Niroshan Premaratne also added that there was a book which was published titled ‘Establishment of Specialists’
There was a fake document on that as well. They want to legalize what is mentioned in the fake document. Everyone would love to see their salaries increase. They are showing an issue related to salaries and diverting the damage caused to doctors” – said Dr. Niroshan Premaratne
The People’s Voices
“… We come to the General Hospital, because we cannot afford to pay for medicine. But they find a small issue and launch a strike. I ask the Government to be firm and solve this through dialogue. What is the meaning of this if you are always burdening the people …”
“… Such people should have never become doctors …”
Worst since 2007
The Central Bank of Sri Lanka has released data, saying the total number of man-days lost to labour strikes have reached a ten-year high.
Proving to be the worst tally since 2007 – Sri Lanka struggled through 41 strikes, losing 104,327 man-days.