By Sheain Fernandopulle
The final decision on the ongoing trade union action carried out by the Public Health Inspectors is to be taken today, PHIs’ Union President Upul Rohana said yesterday.
Speaking to the media after a meeting with the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA), Rohana said the executive council of the association convened today.
The Union arrived at a decision to withdraw from COVID-19 control duties following the government’s failure to provide them with the legal provisions necessary to carry out their duties.
“Despite a gazette notification issued on COVID-19-related health guidelines, we have not been vested with the legal provisions necessary to carry out our duties,”
He added that PHIs across the country have been committed to their duties of preventing the spread of COVID-19 pandemic despite the limited resources. “However, we are not equipped with powers to carry out our duties.”
Rohana said during a meeting with Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi, the Minister made a negative comment on the services of the PHIs. “She said that PHIs were not granted legal provisions, as it might cause inconvenience to the public”.
“The Minister’s statement meant that our COVID-19 duties so far have been distressing the public. We’re very disappointed with her statement, and therefore, decided to resort to trade union action,” he said.
He proceeded to say that there had been three rounds of discussions each with Heath Ministry Secretary and Director General of Health Services.
“It was reported that our matter has been taken into consideration during a meeting held between the Health Minister and health authorities. That was why we have decided to convene our executive council to discuss the matter and to arrive at a positive decision,” Rohana added.
The PHIs declared that they would resort to a trade union action since Friday (17).