Written by Keshala Dias
13 Mar, 2017 | 7:44 pm
The Public Service United Nurses Union staged a trade union action today, March 13, citing seven demands, including the granting of promotions for nurses who have served for five years.
The Public Service United Nurses Union said members of the union staged a “sick note campaign.”
However, the Government Nursing Officers Association and the All Island Nurses Union are not taking part in the strike action.
Laboratory services, medical supply services, X-ray and scan examinations and physio therapy were hampered as a result of the trade union action.
Director of the National Hospital, Dr. Anil Jasinghe said most of the nursing staff did not report to work today.
Nurses at the Karapitiya Teaching Hospital also did not report to work today, while, nurses at the Kandy and Peradeniya Teaching Hospitals reported to work.
News1st correspondents reported that the nurses in Vavuniya and Anuradhapura hospitals reported to work today as usual.
Meanwhile, the President of the Public Service United Nurses Union Ven. Muruththettuwe Ananda Thera said:
[quote]“We made several requests from the government. Discussions were also held in this regard. But that is all it was. We are carrying on this struggle based on seven demands including the recruitment of officers who have completed a service of twelve years, grant promotions to nurses who have served for five years and increase the benefits approved by the previous government based on the requirements.”[/quote]
The subject minister also responded to the situation.
Minister of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said:
[quote]“Over 95% of the nurses at hospitals had reported to work today. I think this is the most unsuccessful strike action launched by Ven. Muruththettuwe Ananda Thera in his entire life. These demands are extremely unreasonable. I do not see any fairness behind any of these requests. They are making requests for the sake of making requests. They listed a couple of demands for the sake of launching a strike action. None of these demands are realistic. I think, come tomorrow, this will end because the rest of the nurses will also come to work.”[/quote]
Meanwhile, several other demonstrations were also organised today, March 13, citing various issues.
A demonstration was held to protest the submission of a cabinet paper calling for the privatisation of the Hambantota Port, to Parliament.
The demonstration was held opposite ‘Gate 3’ of the Colombo Port and was organised by a group calling themselves the Trade Union Front for the protection of the port.
The hour long demonstration caused severe traffic congestion on the Colombo Fort – Kotahena Road.
Meanwhile, Co-Convener of the Trade Union Front for the Protection of the Port Ariyadasa Pathirana, speaking on the issue said:
[quote]“The Hambantota Port was built by obtaining loans against the funds of the people of this country. The debt is being paid by the workers and the people. We will not allow for this to be sold. Thereby, this so-called paper that is to be submitted to cabinet tomorrow, must be withdrawn immediately. If this cabinet paper is not withdrawn, we will resort to stern action. I wish to give a message at this time, that we will not allow for the port to be privatised under any circumstances.”[/quote]
A group of employees of the National Water Supply and Drainage Board staged a demonstration in Colombo today, March 13.
The demonstration organised by the NWSDB Engineering Diplomates Union and the Technical Officers Union was held opposite the NWSDB Head Office in Nawala.
The protesters say they are yet to receive a positive response from the authorities over a number of grievances.
Chairman of the NWSDB Engineering Diplomates Union Upali Ratnayake said:
[quote]“If they are saying they can continue to function without the services of 1,200 experienced field officers, it is a lie. We ask whether these 1,200 employees were simply idling all this time? We have commenced a series of localised demonstrations. These field officers have been subject to unethical and illegal suppression, threats and intimidation. We are holding a series of major demonstrations opposite the field offices. This was the first in that series.”[/quote]
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