Public sector health workers across Sri Lanka joined a one-day strike on Monday, 8 January 2023, demanding wage increases and an end to harsh austerity measures imposed by the government. The demands included wages or allowances indexed to the cost of living, a decrease in unfair interest hikes on loans and an end to recruiting from the multipurpose task force to the health service.
The strike was the first this year and expressed the growing anger of workers over the deepening assault on their basic social and democratic rights by the government.
Junior staff members at many hospitals, including the National Hospitals in Colombo and Kandy, and also in Jaffna, Kurunagala and Galle joined the strike.
The government is implementing harsh austerity measures dictated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the loan taken by the government.
The bank interest rates for loans have jumped from 8 percent to 15 percent over the past year, this has substantially increased monthly installments deducted from wages. On top of that real wages have been almost halved due to rampant inflation.