Local doctors are on strike today, because they are not happy with the recent pay re-structuring. According to a doctor I met last night, his take home salary has decreased by about Rf3,000 after the restructure, although the government and civil service commission claims that there is a pay rise across the board. Doctors also claim that salaries of police officers and army has increased, however, doctors’ salaries have gone down. Because of today’s strike, more than 15 doctors have not reported for duty, and as a result many patients are unable to get services.
Meanwhile, a group of 450 teachers are preparing for a second strike, and this time they are determined to continue the strike until their demands for the pay rise is met. This is despite the fact that the civil service commission has already raised the teachers’ salaries in February. Similarly, Lecturers of the Faculty of Engineering of the Maldives College of Higher Education went on strike this week, also due to their unsatisfied demand regarding the pay structure.
It doesn’t stop there. State attorneys working at the Attorney General’s Office (15 out of a total of 18) did not report to work on Sunday also due to similar reasons. Apparently, the Permanent Secretary is reported to have resigned soon after the incident.
It's most likely that the government will in the end, again raise the salaries of the teachers, lecturers and the state attorneys. This is in addition to the pay rise to all civil servants in February 2009. On top of about Rf200 million monthly deficit faced by the government. On top of the declining tourist arrivals due to deep recession in Europe. On top of the increasing inflation due to increase in spending power with the circulation of Rufiyaa.
I don’t know whether these civil servants realize that the global economy is in a very bad shape. Our economy is also heading towards a major crisis period, due to the rising government deficit, increasing external debt, liquidity problems in the foreign exchange market, and as a result of all these, a possible shortage of basic needs in the market, and the possibility of further increase in prices of goods and services. They may all get a rise in salary and with it increase the amount of money they get each month. However, with prices increasing rapidly, they would soon feel that still they are not able to buy more with that money. The real value of their income would not have increased. What then? Organize another strike and demand another pay raise?