Sri Lanka: Government bans health workers' strikes

February 23, 2022
Sri Lankan health workers protest
Sri Lankan health workers are demanding more resources to control the COVID-19 pandemic, improved pay and conditions. Photo supplied

The Colombo district court ordered the Government Nursing Officers Association to suspend strike action on February 9, the same day, the Sri Lankan government issued emergency regulations for the health service.

This followed more than three months of strikes and protests by health workers' unions. They are demanding more resources to enable health workers to control the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as improved pay and conditions.

More than 16,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the country, according to government data. 64.2% of the population is fully vaccinated.

According to Inoka Amarasinghe, the international coordinator of the Government Nursing Officers Association, "health staff is exhausted".

The campaign is being organised by the Federation of Health Professionals, an alliance of unions in the health sector.

The Federation held a protest march in Colombo on February 14. After this, the health minister met with union officials and promised to take a proposal to cabinet that would meet some of the workers' demands. As a result, the Federation suspended its campaign for two weeks.

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