Budget better resolve salary anomalies, warn teachers, principals
- Threaten continuous strike if budgetary solution ‘unacceptable’
- Challenge NWP Governor to follow through on salary suspension threat
BY Buddhika Samaraweera
The Teachers’ and Principals’ Trade Union Alliance (TPTUA), which last week decided to relax the ongoing series of trade union actions initiated in protest over the teacher-principal salary anomaly issue, have warned that they would once again launch a continuous strike if the Budget proposal to be presented in November does not provide an acceptable solution to the said issue.
Speaking to the media, Ceylon Teachers’ Service Union (CTSU) General Secretary Mahinda Jayasinghe said that unless an acceptable solution based on the report of the Subodhini Committee, which was appointed to look into the teacher-principal salary anomaly issue, is provided with regard to their salary anomaly issue through the Budget proposal planned to be presented on 12 November, a continuous strike would be launched again.
He further said that a series of protests would be held in various parts of the country on 25 October and on 3 November in front of 3,000 schools islandwide.
Meanwhile, he commented on the statements made by government parties, including North Western Provincial Governor Raja Kollure, that actions would be taken against teachers who do not report to the schools scheduled to be opened today (21).
Speaking to the media on 19 October, Kollure had said: “I will consider suspending the salaries of teachers who do not report to work today. Under the labour law, those who engage in a strike do not get paid. I have informed the relevant authorities to present a report on the attendance of teachers and principals today. After obtaining the details of those who were present and those who were not, we will take action.”
He had added that action would be taken against the violators and that he would act in the capacity of the Education Minister of the North Western Province (NWP), and further stated that the teachers who do not report to work before 25 October would not be allowed to report on any day thereafter.
In response to Kollure’s statement, Jayasinghe said: “We have seen Kollure saying that the teachers’ November salary will be suspended if they do not report for duty today. Where in the law is such a thing mentioned? Working people have the right to launch trade union actions. Therefore, we are not afraid of such threats at all. We challenge the Government and Kollure to suspend a single teacher’s salary and then they will be able to see what will happen.”
He also said that although they have decided to resume sending applications for the General Certificate of Education (GCE) Advanced Level (A/L) and Grade Five Scholarship examinations from 25 October, no final decision has been taken yet regarding their participation in the examination duties and paper marking duties. Adding that they will only teach from 7.30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m., Jayasinghe said that teachers would refrain from all other extra duties.
Nearly 30 teachers’ and principals’ trade unions have embarked on a number of trade union actions, including withdrawal from all physical and online teaching activities and examination-related duties, demanding a solution to the teacher-principal salary anomaly issue since 12 July 2021.
However, the TPTUA decided last week to relax the trade union actions, demanding a solution to their salary anomaly issues, which marks the 102nd today, and instead resume teaching activities and return to examination-related duties from 25 October.
Accordingly, the teachers and principals have decided not to report for duty in schools today and tomorrow (22) and to report to schools on 25 October instead. However, they have warned that they hope to launch a number of other trade union actions from time to time such as protests, strikes, and parental awareness programmes from 25 October.