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Sunday October 1st, 2023

Sri Lanka health technicians on sick note campaign

HEALTH CHECK: Vietnam doctors running health checks on boat people from Sri Lanka who fled a currency crisis. At least 20 were found with diabetes on November 10.

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s medical technicians and support staff will engage in sick note campaign for 24 hours on Wednesday demanding higher wages to match inflation and withdrawal of an essential service order, a union official said.

The Association of Government Medical Laboratory Technologists is organizing the trade union action from Wednesday at 06.30 am for 24 hours that ends at 6.30 am on Thursday (09).

The decision came after a discussion with the Secretary to the Health Ministry, Janaka Chandraguptha and the Director General of Unions Saman Deshapriya.

“In today’s discussion with the Secretary of Health,it was not possible to reach a definite solution, therefore the proposed trade union procedure will be in effect for twenty-four hours,” Kumudesh said.

The main demands of the strikers are as follows:
01 . Immediate remedy for the shortage of drug equipment and reagents in government hospitals.
02 . Withdrawal of orders issued to cut salaries of health staff up to 15%.
03 . Withdrawal of the Essential Services Gazette notification issued with the aim of suppressing health workers’ trade unions.
04 . Financial distress to health professionals due to an increase in bank interest rates.
05 . Providing an allowance commensurate with the increased cost of living and inflation.

Also, the actions of the new Director General of the President’s Trade Unions are another reason for the discussions to be unsuccessful and led to a preventable union action, Kumudesh said.

“We expect more than 100,000 workers to join with us.”

All hospitals except the lifesaving and Emergency services, all Cancer hospitals, Blood banks, Kidney, children and Maternity hospitals, will be participating in the strike. (Colombo/ Mar 07/2023)

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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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