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Sunday October 1st, 2023

Health workers in Sri Lanka continue strike despite court order

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s health workers continued an ongoing strike for the fifth day running despite two enjoining orders issued by the Colombo District Court against it.

Sri Lanka Federation for Health Professionals started their strike last Monday (07) demanding solutions to seven demands.

Health workers initiated several token strikes in 2021 as well, and on February 06 this year, the announced a continuous island wide strike from the next day onwards.

The demands are as follows

  1. Approved by the Cabinet of Ministers on July 05, 2021,


  1. Failure to issue the circular naming the posts in connection with the confirmation of staff ownership.


  1. With regard to the first class promotion system after 12 years,
  2. Delay in issuing circulars related to the paramedical and paramedical professions
  3. Obtaining Cabinet Approval Again for Postponing the Relevant Decision till 01.11.2010 to remove the anomalies.


  1. Eliminate the parallel pay disparity caused by the elimination of only teacher pay anomalies, maintain the pay policy in a manner that does not violate the Sri Lanka Eligibility Framework and implement Ranuk’s pay committee recommendations.


  1. In determining the overtime rate, calculate 1/80 of the basic salary for all health care professionals and update the call and sample allowance which has not been updated for 21 years accordingly.


  1. Establishing the correct salary scale relevant to the professional degree and providing suitable posts / employment opportunities.


  1. Establishment of a “Health Administration Service” representing all health professionals.


  1. Special Duty Allowance to Increase to 10,000 rupees


  1. Transforming health professional services into closed services.

The strike is being carried out by 16 groups of health professionals, including medical laboratory scientists, pharmacists, radiologists, cardiologists, public health inspectors, family health officers and pharmacists.

Following an action filed by the Attorney General on Thursday against the Government Nursing Officers’ Association citing inconvenience to the public, the Colombo District Court issued two enjoining orders against the strike, valid till February 24. One for the enjoining orders was against the convener of the association Saman Rathnapriya.

However, despite the court orders, health workers are continuing the strike for the fifth consecutive day.

Rathnapriya told reporters on Friday (11) that no such orders have been communicated to him officially.

“We got to know through media that an enjoining order has been issued to stop the strike. But it has not been conveyed to me or to the association yet. And striking is a statutory right of ours. If we were summoned to the court, we would have provided our facts,” he said.

A decision on whether or not to stop the strike will be taken by the association after a general meeting in the event an enjoining order is formally issued to them, he said.

“Parallel to the increments in teacher’s salary we are asking for our own salaries’ increment. That responsibility is with the government, the Ministry of Health and the National Salaries Commission. Until that happens it is impossible to stop this strike.”

Meanwhile, the convenor of the Federation for Health Professionals, Ravi Kumudesh on Friday (11) told reporters that the association will take legal actions against the Secretary to the Ministry of Health.

“We are suing the Secretary of Health over the public inconvenience caused by allowing a strike to be prevented,” Kumudesh said.

If the authorities resort to repression when matters can be negotiated, the unions are ready to face it, he said.

Minister of Health Keheliya Rambukwella on Friday said, the authorities expect the workers honour the court order and resume work, ending the inconvenience caused to the public. (Colombo/Feb11/2022)

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  1. Gehan says:

    Lock up all the leaders causing this strike and confiscate all union assets

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  1. Gehan says:

    Lock up all the leaders causing this strike and confiscate all union assets

Sri Lanka National Christian Council opposes Online Safety Bill

ECONOMYNEXT – The National Christian Council of Sri Lanka (NCCSL) in a statement on the Online Safety Bill, said that the existing legal regime is adequate to deal with instances of harmful speech, making it unjustifiable to enact such “stringent laws”.

The Council called upon the government to withdraw the bill immediately.

The body expressed “deep concern” over the proposed bill, detailing its potential to curtail freedom of speech and how, according to the Council, the piece of legislature is inconsistent with the principles of democracy.

“The bill proposes the establishment of an entity named the Online Safety Commission without provisions to guarantee its independence and impartiality,” the statement said.

Chapter 3 imposes restrictions on online communication of certain statements, many of which are vague and overbroad, leaving room for executive control and the curtailing of legitimate criticism and dissent that are basic features of democracy, the statement said.

“The laws granting wide discretion to the executive and its investigative agencies with expansive reach have been misused in the past.”

The Council said that the bill was not drafted with the process of public consultation and discussion, which might have ensured the bill would be less draconian in nature.

“The National Christian Council of Sri Lanka calls upon the government to withdraw this anti-human rights and anti-democratic bill immediately.” (Colombo/Sep30/2023)

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Sri Lanka to implement new vehicle revenue licence issuing system

ECONOMYNEXT – A new system of issuing vehicle licences called eRL 2.0 is to be implemented in 5 provinces, excluding the Western Province, from 3 October onwards.

The new system is to be implemented beginning in the North West, South, North Central, Central and Sabaragamuwa provinces, respectively. The existing vehicle licence issuing system eRL 1.0 will continue to be used in the Western Province.

The issuing of revenue licences islandwide at Department of Motor Traffic head offices and regional branches will be temporarily halted on October 2.

The facility of obtaining vehicle permits online will also be temporarily halted on 6 October till midnight.

The Sri Lanka Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) and the Provincial Motor Traffic Departments are working to modernize the current vehicle revenue license issuance system.

The implementation of the new eRL 2.0 system is expected to be an important step in the digitalisation of Sri Lanka. (Colombo/Sep30/2023)

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Sri Lankan Airlines flights cancelled as aircraft grounded

ECONOMYNEXT – State-run SriLankan Airlines has apologized to passengers who were stranded as multiple aircraft were grounded at the same time.

The airline said it has strict procedures which requires aircraft to be grounded when technical issues are discovered.

“Unfortunately, in this case we suffered a number of groundings at the same time,” the airline said.

“We apologize for the disruption and inconvenience caused and assure all our loyal customers that we are working diligently to minimize such occurrences moving forward.”

The airline said it was booking passengers on other airlines while some have been accommodated at hotels. (Colombo/Sept30/2023)

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