A total of 44 trade unions in the health service has decided to launch a collective strike action for five hours, from 7am today.
President of the Government Nursing Officers Association Saman Rathnapriya said the trade union action is being launched against the decision reached by the government to suspend the COVID-19 allowance provided to health workers.
He said following the five-hour strike action, protest campaigns have been planned opposite all hospitals across the island, at noon today.
The GNOA President said however staff attached at COVID treatment centres, Lady Ridgeway Hospital for Children, Apeksha Hospital in Maharagama and other special treatment facilities will not withdraw from services.
Rathnapriya claimed the government and the Ministry of Health had failed to provide solutions to the reasonable demands of the health sector.
He noted over 100,000 health sector workers including nurses, complementary medical services, drivers and junior staff are due to join the strike action.
He added an initial step was taken to launch a massive protest campaign at hospitals on the 22nd of September.
Rathnapriya said the reason for the protest was the government’s decision to slash the Rs.7,500 COVID allowance, which was halted after the 30th of August.
He noted the COVID-19 pandemic has not been mitigated thus far, while around 1,200-1,300 patients are identified daily at present.
Rathnapriya added 12 health workers had also succumbed to the virus, while engaged in COVID mitigation efforts.
Meanwhile, Minister of Health Keheliya Rambukwella has said he will hold discussions with trade unions who have decided to withdraw from services this morning.