News

Teachers-principals in motorcade to be grilled

  • Summoned to Colombo Fort Police tomorrow
  • Unions to inform EU on ‘suppression’

By Buddhika Samaraweera

A group of persons, including teachers and principals, who participated in the motorcade organised by teachers’ and principals’ trade unions on 4 August 2021 to protest against the Government’s alleged failure to address their issues including salary anomalies, have been summoned to the Colombo Fort Police Station at 10 a.m. tomorrow (2), according to the Ceylon Teachers’ Union (CTU).

The trade unions had organised four motorcades from Kadawatha, Welisara, Moratuwa, and Kottawa to Colombo on 4 August, demanding a solution to their salary anomaly issue.

Speaking to The Morning yesterday (30 September), CTU President Priyantha Fernando said that a group of persons including teachers, principals, and vehicle owners have been summoned to the Colombo Fort Police Station tomorrow.

Claiming that they have received information to the effect that some others who participated in the motorcade are to be summoned to the Police in groups, Fernando said that the European Union (EU) will be informed in writing today (1) of all the measures taken by the Government so far to suppress their ongoing trade union actions.

“It has been nearly two months since the motorcade was held, and the participants are now to be summoned to the Police Station all of a sudden. We see this as part of the repressive programme of the Government in targeting teachers and principals. However, we are not afraid of any of this and will inform the EU in writing of all the measures taken by the Government to crackdown on teachers and principals,” he added.

Fernando also said that no matter what repressive measures the Government takes to curb the ongoing trade union actions, it will continue until their issues are resolved. “If anyone thinks that we are afraid of these things, it is merely a joke. We will not stop this struggle until our issues are resolved and these actions of the Government will only help make this struggle stronger,” he emphasised.

On 4 August 2021, on the day of the motorcade in question, more than 40 individuals who were staging a protest near the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo Fort were arrested by the Police. Later that evening, the arrestees, who were arrested by several Police stations, had been taken to the Colombo Port Police station. The Opposition and Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Leader Sajith Premadasa, who went to see the arrestees on 5 August, was denied entry by the Police and Port security officers.

Meanwhile, a principal and a teacher who support the ongoing teachers and principals trade union actions had been summoned before the CID to record a statement on 21 September following a complaint, which had allegedly been lodged by a group of teachers of a leading Government school in Colombo regarding an alleged incident where the latter group had been threatened by said principal and teacher to not carry out online teaching activities.