ACNU threatens TU action

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The All Ceylon Nurses’ Union (ACNU) has threatened trade union action today  (25) if the Health Ministry fails to resolve the issues surrounding the slashing of Extra Duty Payments (EDPs) and allowances paid to nurses and other employees of the State health service. 

ACNU General Secretary, S.B. Madiwatte, lambasted the Government on Monday (23) for attempting to overcome its economic crisis by slashing salaries of government servants, by cutting back on EDPs and other allowances of nurses and other health service categories. With the present economic situation facing the country and the fuel crisis there were instances when nurses were unable to report for duty at all. Amid the poor fuel supply plans, health employees are not able to cope with the pressures of day-to-day activities. Madiwatte said should the Government and Health Ministry remain unmoved by the protests and the awareness campaigns the ACNU proposes to carry out today (25), it would gather the relatives of patients and the public to surround the Health Ministry from 31 May, “Demanding the genocidal, oppressive government to go home,” he warned.   

The ACNU General Secretary urged the Government to reconsider its move to include the State health services in its decision to slash Extra Duty Payments (EDP) and allowances. Already, there is a shortage of nurses in the State health service. With the fuel crisis, there are times when the numbers that report to duty decline from the nursing staff on the roster, it falls on the nurses who live in quarters and in close proximity to hospitals to cover their duties as well. The decision to cut payments is being implemented from this month (May).

He also urged authorities to make arrangements to permit those nurses who report for duty to cover the workload of nurses who are absent on such days paying them the due EDP. He said, “With the present transport difficulties, nurses face many difficulties having to handle a large number of patients. But with the Government implementing this decision from this week when health employees would be paid less, it would only result in nurses and other hospital staff only covering the services assigned to them. Such a move would severely affect certain wards like the medical and surgical wards and the Intensive Care Units,” he added. 

By Dilanthi Jayamanne