Doctors vow to continue strike

[TamilNet, Sunday, 27 June 1999, 18:25 GMT]
Officials of the Government Medical Officers' Association (GMOA) said this afternoon that they would continue their strike until all their demands have been met. At a press briefing held at Regent Street in Colombo, senior officials of the GMOA said that they were determined to continue with their strike despite the state-sponsored intimidation to which their members had been subjected.

The strike by the 4500 member-strong Government Medical Officers' Association enters its third week today and has led to paralysis in the island's health services.

The GMOA launched the present strike on June 14 demanding that the power to appoint and transfer doctors should be handed over to central government from the provincial councils.

When the strike was extended island wide on June 17 the President issued an Essential Services Order under emergency regulations. The GMOA decided to defy the order and the government retaliated by cancelling leave for all medical staff.

On June 22, the Colombo District Court issued an enjoining order, restraining the GMOA from continuing its strike.

Then the GMOA formed a new union and continued to strike, defying the court order.

On June 25, the Colombo District Judge issued warrants for the arrest of the 12 senior officials of the GMOA for contempt of court.

On June 26, 12 senior officials of the GMOA surrendered at the Maradana Police station. They were later allowed to go on personal bail as the district court had directed.

This afternoon senior officials of the Government Medical Officers' Association appeared at a press conference and vowed to continue the present strike without yielding to intimidation, threats and other pressures.

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