ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s health sector trade unions, led by the Public Health Inspectors’ (PHI) Union, have launched a two-day strike demanding fuel and the raise of a fuel allowance granted to the PHIs, a trade union official said.
Public Health Midwives, Health Entomological Officers, Diagnostic Cost Group (DCG) Recordists, Electro Cardio Gram (EEG) Recordists, Dental Therapists, Dental Technicians, and Public Health laboratories Technicians and Dispensers all joined the strike amid allegations of health sector workers not being given adequate fuel despite a promise by the government.
PHI union chairman Upul Rohana said the main demands are a consistent supply of fuel and an increase in salary and allowances in par with the latest fuel price hikes.
“Even if we had a consistent supply, we would not be able to buy fuel, the way prices are increasing,” Rohana told EconomyNext.
Sri Lanka’s state-owned Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and Lanka IOC, a local unit of the Indian Oil Corporation, upwardly revised prices by the same margin on Sunday June 26. Octane 92 petrol rose by 50 rupees to 470 rupees a litre, Auto Diesel by 60 rupees to 460 rupees a litre and Octane 95 petrol by 100 rupees to 550 rupees a litre, and Super Diesel 75 rupees to 520 rupees per litre.
The price increase came as most of Sri Lankan fuel pumps had dried up as the government of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa failed to ensure supply due to and ongoing forex shortage.
Last Friday June 24, Sri Lankan authorities had ensured that fuel would be provided to health staff from selected filling stations that day. Nine filling stations had been chosen from the capital Colombo and the Colombo district and six filling stations had been selected from adjoining Gampaha district.
“We were promised fuel last Friday, but we didn’t get it. At this point. we don’t even have fuel to report to work,” said Rohana. (Colombo/Jun29/2022)