- Trade union action called off from 7.30 a.m. today
- AG’s Dept. explains PHIs can act as inspectors
- Health Ministry agrees with AG’s Dept.
- Possibility of amendments to Ordinance discussed
By Shailendree Wickrama Adittiya
Following a discussion with Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday, the Public Health Inspectors’ (PHI) Union has decided to call off the trade union action launched on 17 July.
Speaking to the Daily FT, PHI Union President Upul Rohana said, “At the discussion with the Prime Minister [yesterday], the Attorney General’s Department clearly showed that the PHIs have power to act as inspectors, and the Health and Indigenous Medical Services Ministry agreed to this, so we have decided to call off the trade union action from 7.30 a.m. [today].”
According to a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office yesterday, the decision was taken by the PHI Union following discussions with 20 supporting organisations yesterday evening.
The trade union action was launched due to the PHIs not having powers as inspectors under the Quarantine and Prevention of Diseases Ordinance No. 03 of 1897.
While discussions were held with the Health and Indigenous Medical Services Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi, Secretary Dr. S.H. Munasinghe, Health Services Director General Dr. Anil Jasinghe, and representatives of the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) since trade union action was launched, the parties were unable to reach an agreement.
Rohana said, “On 25 July, the Attorney General gave a clear recommendation to the Health and Indigenous Medical Services Ministry.” This led to yesterday’s discussion with the Prime Minister, which also included representatives of the Health and Indigenous Medical Services Ministry, Health Services, Attorney General›s Department, and the GMOA.
“All parties at the discussion agreed that, when carrying out duties according to the Ordinance, if there is a need to take legal action, the PHIs can do so in agreement with Medical Officers of Health, and if there is an issue beyond that, they must obtain consent from the Health Services Director General,” Health Services Director General Dr. Anil Jasinghe stated.
He added that there were certain issues with the Ordinance and that the Prime Minister’s attention was also drawn to the possibility of amendments.