72 Health Sector Unions Strike for Equal Allowances, Again

Seventy-two unions within the health sector commenced a strike at 6:30 a.m. today, February 13, demanding equal allowance benefits. The strike, organized by the Health Trade Union Alliance, aims to compel the government to extend the Disturbance, Availability, and Transport (DAT) allowance, currently exclusive to medical officers, to all health sector employees.

According to Ravi Kumudesh, convenor of the Health Trade Union Alliance, the strike seeks to highlight the need for equitable allowance distribution among health sector workers. S.B. Mediwatta, secretary of the All-Ceylon Nurses Union, announced a protest in Colombo scheduled for February 14 to further press their demands.

The collective action involves various health professionals, such as radiology and laboratory technicians, pharmacists, midwives, dental surgeons, public health inspectors, and entomology officers, marking a continuation of recent strikes for improved allowances.

This wave of strikes was triggered by the Cabinet’s endorsement of President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s proposal to increase the DAT allowance for government doctors from Rs. 35,000 to Rs. 70,000, sparking demands for fair treatment across the health sector.