Sri Lanka not to use strike-ban against doctors

ECONOMYNEXT – The government has decided not to use the tough Public Security Act to outlaw work stoppages of state-sector doctors because their trade union has been greatly weakened, Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said.

The government on Tuesday resorted to the Public Security Act to ban a strike by petroleum workers unlike work stoppages by the Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA).

"The last strike by the GMOA on Tuesday was a flop. A large number of doctors did not join the strike," Senaratne told reporters in Colombo.

He said the GMOA was desperate to call off their strike as its rank and file had no appetite to stop work which also prevents them from engaging in their lucrative private practice during GMOA-called strikes.

"What I told the president is that not to declare the health sector as an essential service because that would be to give them an excuse to call off their strikes. Even if they want to, they can’t keep up a strike for more than two days.

"They go for a meeting just give themselves some face saving exit."

A rival trade union of doctors formed earlier this month undermining the hold of the GMOA on the state health sector. Public anger was also directed against striking GMOA members with many in provincial areas turning hostile against the strikers.

The government was also contemplating withdrawing duty concession permits given to medical officers who go on strike.

The government was also considering withdrawing the car permit all together from doctors who engage in private practice. Officials said a package of proposals under consideration has led to differences within the GMOA leadership.

At the Kolonnawa oil distribution centre, police arrested dozens of workers who resorted to sabotage , police said adding that the military had moved in to provide security to the facilities and those who reported to work.





By early afternoon on Wednesday, a convoy of fuel tankers were moved out to retail pumps outside Colombo.
(COLOMBO, July 26, 2017)

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