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Wednesday September 27th, 2023

Sri Lanka health workers defy court order, presidential decree to protest, crippling sector

ECONOMYNEXT – Health workers in Sri Lanka continued a protest campaign for the seventh day running on Monday (14) in defiance of a court order and a presidential gazette, disrupting routine work in government hospitals and inconveniencing thousands of patients.

Hundreds of protestors marched outside the president’s office in the heart of the commercial capital Colombo early on Monday carrying placards with slogans that demanded solutions to salary anomalies, an increase in the special duty allowance to 10,000 rupees and the establishment health administration services among seven demands.

The Colombo district court issued two enjoining orders last week against the Government Nursing Officers Association (GNOA) and its president Saman Ratnapriya ordering the suspension of their trade union action until February 24.

However, all health sector trade unions but the GNOA, exploiting a loophole of the court ruling, continued their protest, which led President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to declare the public health sector as an essential service last Friday night.

President Rajapaksa and the health sector trade union workers have been at loggerheads ever since the leader appointed some top military officials to ensure efficiency in the health services during the first COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020.

As a result of the ongoing trade union campaigns, patients were not treated in many government hospitals and medicines not issued, people across the countries have said.

Rathnapriya and the GNOA have threatened to seek justice from an international court for what they claim is the suppression of the health sector through Rajapaksa’s gazette declaring it an essential service. (Colombo/Feb14/2022)

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Sri Lanka to introduce social security system: minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Labour minister has said that they are set to introduce a comprehensive national social security system, covering all workers.

“The system will address the weaknesses of the current system and provide much-needed support to workers and their families,” Manusha Nanayakkara, Minister of Labour and Foreign Employment said on X (formerly known as Twitter).
He did not specify the details.

Nanayakkara also spoke of the need for robust social security when he met with exporters last week to discuss labor law reforms, boosting female workforce participation and attracting FDI.

Sri Lanka plans to reform labour laws for an export-oriented economy.

The pandemic and the economic crisis highlighted the need to improve the coverage of social security.

Studies have shown that Sri Lanka’s women are kept out of formal employment by childcare, elderly care and housework, as day care and elderly homes are either too expensive or too few.

The government imposed a Social Security Contribution Levy to increase its revenue last year. (Colombo/Sep27/2023)

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Sri Lanka’s stocks up in trading on Wednesday morning

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka shares were picking up in trading on Wednesday morning.

Turnover was at 50 million. Trading in the Capital Goods Industry Group was driving turnover.

The All Share Price Index was up 0.37 percent or 41.78 points to 11,289.94, while the S&P SL20 was also up 0.68 percent or 21.66 points to 3,187.65.

Hatton National Bank, Commercial Bank and LOLC saw gains in morning trade, while Tokyo cement and Lanka Hospitals were trading down during morning trading. (Colombo/Sep27/2023)

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Sri Lanka rupee opens at 323.50/324.10 to the US dollar, bond yields stable

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee opened at 323.50/324.10 to the US dollar on Wednesday, after closing on Tuesday at 323.70/324.20 to the US dollar, dealers said.

A bond maturing on 01.08.2026 was quoted at 15.50/70 percent on Wednesday up from Tuesday’s close at 15.45/65 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.05.2028 was quoted at 14.50/55 percent from closing at Tuesday at 14.30/55 percent. (Colombo/Sep27/2023)

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