Northern Province Governor Jeevan Thiagarajah will meet the Northern Province representatives of the Government Medical Officers’ Association tomorrow (1) to discuss the next step in their pending salary issues and to take the next step if the matter is not resolved.
Overtime payments for medical staffers have been halted, according to a circular issued by the Department of National Budget. Treasury Secretary K.M. Mahinda Siriwardana said in a letter to the Health Secretary, concerning the curtailment of Government expenses, that the Finance Ministry has taken a concerted decision to drastically reduce the payment of overtime to those who fail to prove their attendance in office, as well as the payment of overtime to these persons in the future.
According to the circular, all overtime payments calculated from now on should not exceed the monthly salaries drawn by employees of government institutions. At this critical juncture for the country, Siriwardana has advised the Health Secretary to manage all expenses required for the maintenance of the health service without interruption.
He noted that, until the country returns to normalcy, the Finance Ministry has no objection to pay overtime to those who provide essential services even after their normal duty hours have ended due to the severity of the country’s situation.
The Northern Province Governor told Ceylon Today yesterday (29) that the overtime payments for over 80 senior doctors have not been credited to the Provincial Council to disperse it, and this is one of the problems faced by the medical officers.
The Governor has directed the Ministry of Health of the Northern Province to act immediately after receiving the circulars in this regard.
Thiagarajah told Ceylon Today that he held a virtual discussion with the representatives of the Northern Province State Medical Officers’ Association on 28 June.
The Jaffna District Coordinator of the State Medical Officers’ Association, Kadiramalai Umasuthan, told the Governor that the salaries of doctors in the Northern Province have been reduced and are not being paid in full, and that this situation is observed in only the Northern and Western provinces.
Umasuthan further said they had been assured that action will be taken regarding their salary reduction in a meeting with the State Medical Officers’ Association in Colombo with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Finance.
The Governor said the GMOA has resolved the issue in the Western Province and the issue in the Northern Province will be resolved too.
By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan