Government doctors will go on a countrywide strike tomorrow due to the government’s failures to meet their deadline to increase a transport allowance which was promised to them earlier this year.
Government doctors will go on strike from 8 am tomorrow morning (Friday) and may continue the strike in the next few days depending on the government’s response to their demands, the Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) said yesterday.
GMOA President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya said that there was frustration and agitation among doctors. Doctors of over 60 branches of the GMOA which is one the largest unions in the country comprising a membership of over 16,000 doctors had unanimously decided on taking trade union at a recent GMOA General Committee meeting.
The government had principally agreed to increase the Disturbance, Availability and Transport (DAT) allowance from Rs.15,000 to Rs.29,000 several years back and were again given assurance by President Mahinda Rajapaksa during discussions earlier this year.
The DAT allowance is the only special allowance made available to government doctors.
He said rising prices were creating a further burden on doctors and that there was greater need for it.
“A consultant specialist receives Rs.42,000 and an average medical officer receives Rs.26,000 as their basic salaries. With the increasing prices this allowance is not enough to sustain,” Padeniya said.
He said that many government officials received Rs.100,000 as a transport allowance or were provided a fuel according to the capacity of litres and questioned why doctors could not provided a Rs.14,000 increase in allowances. (Olindhi Jayasundere)