May 06, Colombo: Two of the three striking nurses' unions in Sri Lanka have decided to suspend the strike while the third has decided to continue.
Three trade unions in the nursing sector - Government Nursing Officers Association (GNOA), the All Ceylon Nurses Union (ACBU) and the Public Service United Nurses' Union (PSUNU) launched the strike to demand midwifery training to the nurses, an issue the state doctors and midwives' unions oppose.
The nurses' unions launched a strike last Thursday demanding that the nurses in state hospitals also be given midwifery training despite the opposition for the demand from the powerful doctors' union Government Medical Officers' Association (GMOA) and midwives' union.
However, the Chairman of the PSUNU Venerable Muruththettuwe Ananda Thero said that his union will call off the strike from Monday morning and the nurses attached to the union will return to work.
President of the GNOA Saman Rathnapriya yesterday announced that they will suspend the strike for one week from 7 a.m. Tuesday and if the government fails to resolve the issue within a week they will resume the trade union action.
However, the ACNU has told media that it will continue with the strike despite the other two have decided to call off their trade union action.
ACNU President, Gamini Kumarasinghe, has told the media that the government is not serious about finding a solution to the dispute between the nurses and midwives.
Meanwhile, a committee appointed by the government and headed by the Treasury Secretary Dr. P. B. Jayasundara met for the first time Monday to reach a resolution to the issue.
Minister of Health Maithripala Sirisena has urged both sides to resolve their differences promptly to find a common ground in the best interests of the country and the public as the current crisis could jeopardize the country' entire health services.
However, thousands of patients have been inconvenienced and the condition of some kidney patients has become critical due to the strike.