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Nurses' union petitions HRC

2013 Jul 25

By Sithara Pathirana


The All Ceylon Nurses' Union (ACNU) handed a petition to the Human Rights Commission yesterday, protesting the negligence related to the Nurses' Service Minutes.



Secretary of the ACNU, S.B. Madiwatta, said, "Since 1984 the Nurses' Service Minutes that were in operation had many shortcomings. However, the revised version that was prepared in 2010 with the promise of addressing these shortcomings is even more flawed."



Explaining the situation in detail to Ceylon Today, he said when considering the 1984 Service Minutes, Grade 3 nurses were able to obtain a promotion to Grade 2 after five years of service, and after serving for 12 years as Grade 2 nurses, they are promoted as Grade 1 nurses. However, with the new Service Minutes, a Grade 3 nurse would have to serve for 10 years to become a Grade 2 nurse, and be 20 years in service to be considered a Grade 1 nurse. "This is ludicrous, because the objective of introducing a new Service Minute was to address the prevalent lacunas but it appears the situation has been exacerbated," he said.



"Some officers in the medical field who have higher professional qualifications than that of nurses are able to get promotions within a shorter time frame," Madiwatte added. In his view, this situation is unacceptable and said the authorities should ensure that nurses too are treated in like manner.



"If no action is taken with regard to the petition, we will ensure that a complaint is filed in the Magistrate's Court, citing a violation of Fundamental Rights," he said.



Speaking to Ceylon Today, the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Health, W.M.D. Wanninayake, said the new Service Minutes were prepared with the Government Nurses' Union, which comprises 95% of the total number of nurses serving in the island, agreeing on new Service Minutes. "While the Act is still to be enacted, we have had discussions to ensure that it will be enacted in the foreseeable future. Also, there are no other issues in regard to the contents of the Service minutes," he said.



He further said with 95% of the nurses accepting the Service Minutes, one should accept that it has been democratically done.

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