Grama Niladhari officers strike

Grama Niladhari officers island-wide have stepped down from COVID-19 related duties with effect from midnight on Tuesday (25).

Trade Union sources say the action is a result of the failure of the authorities to address the demands of the Grama Niladhari’ Unions over the past 14 months to provide them with protective measures and the COVID-19 vaccines.

In a letter addressed to the Secretary to the State Ministry of Home Affairs, the Chief Secretary of the Sri Lanka United Grama Niladharis’ Association Athula Seelam Arachchi said although several letters were exchanged between the unions and the Ministry during past few months on this matter, no positive response has been received to date.

“Therefore, it was planned to advance the earlier announced Trade Union which was scheduled to be taken from June 1 to May 25 and further action would be taken if the issues are not addressed with immediate effect,” he said.

According to Seelamanarachchi, all the Grama Seva Officers island-wide have stepped down from COVID-19 related duties including participating in the rural committees, reporting facts on the infected, monitoring the home quarantine processes, delivering dry ration packs for quarantined families, providing the Rs.5,000 allowance, implementing the mobile services of essential items and compiling vaccination lists.

“In case of a suspected COVID-19 death, the Grama Niladharis will conduct the coordination role among the relevant parties only through the phone,” Seelamanarachchi said.

Currently there are over 12,000 Grama Niladharis in active service and of them two have already died of COVID-19,65 have been infected and several others under quarantine.

Apart from COVID-19 duties, the Grama Niladharis are more vulnerable to the pandemic as they conduct disaster related duties as well.

 

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