nursing officers threaten TU action today

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The Nursing Officers’ Association (GNOA) warned it would resort to trade union action today (15) against several health institutions and provincial health officials for their failure to implement the ‘two-day special leave’ for nurses and other health service employees which had been approved by the Health Secretary.

GNOA President Saman Ratnapriya yesterday (14) said, Health Ministry Secretary Janaka Sri Chandragupta had granted approval for the two-day special leave per week for nurses and other State health sector employees.

Thus, they would be entitled to eight days of special leave per month. Ratnapriya said, discussions had been held in this regard with the Treasury and the Health Secretary gave his approval as well.

However, there are certain health institutions and Provincial Health Officials who have failed to implement the directive, and as a result, health workers including nurses have to report to work seven days a week as usual.

A ‘five-day work week’ was a bone of contention for the GNOA and several other health service trade unions who continued to demand being treated like other State service employees. It had been implemented during the pandemic.

However, they had reverted to the seven-day duty roster at the end of the Covid period. Secretary Chandragupta has now given his approval for State health services including the 38,000 nurses and 35,000 minor employees to have two days of special leave per week to cope with the pressure they come under during service hours.

Ratnapriya said, the administrative heads at Peradeniya and Kandy Hospitals implemented it only about six days ago. But even then, there were issues with regard to the salaries of health service employees at Peradeniya Teaching Hospital.

Also, the Kalutara District health institutions in the Western Province and the Southern Province health institutions have failed to implement the new directive.

“Therefore, the strikes will be held in all places which have failed to follow Health Secretary Chandragupta’s directive, especially at this juncture,” he said.

By Dilanthi Jayamanne