Decision on Ending Strike Today

By Thameenah Razeek and Nabiya Vaffoor | Published: 2:00 AM Oct 13 2021
News Decision on Ending Strike Today

By Thameenah Razeek and Nabiya Vaffoor

Discussions between leaders of Teacher Trade Unions and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa ended without a conclusion, but union leaders said they will announce today whether they are continuing with the union action.

Ceylon Teachers’ Union (CTU) General Secretary Joseph Stalin said Premier Mahinda Rajapaksa has given his word to provide the requested allowance in two stages, although the Cabinet Sub-Committee suggested paying the allowance in three stages. “One third of the allowance will be paid in January 2022 and the rest of the amount will be paid off by January 2023. 

But we have not expressed whether we accept this decision and at the same time we have not decided to stop the trade union action,” added Stalin. Meanwhile, Ceylon Teachers’ Service Union (CTSU) General Secretary Mahinda Jayasinghe said the Premier rejected their proposal to pay the said allowance in one go, claiming it is tough to take such a decision given the economic situation in the country.

“The Premier said there is no way to allocate further provisions since the Appropriation Bill has already been tabled,” he added. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister’s Office, issuing a Media release yesterday said: “The Prime Minister has proposed raising teachers' salaries in the first phase through the Budget for fiscal year 2022, and the remaining instalment through the Budget for fiscal year 2023.” 

Thus, after meeting with members from the teacher and principal trade unions, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa assured that the Government will agree to increase salaries in two stages as a solution to the effort to eliminate compensation irregularities. 

The Prime Minister, who intervened to resolve the issue, summoned representatives of teachers and principals to Temple Trees yesterday and presented the resolution, emphasising that the Government was sensitive to the problem of teachers and principals and agreed that salary anomalies should be rectified. 

The Premier said the decisions made by the Cabinet Sub-Committee constituted by Dullas Alahapperuma on 9 September will be carried out in the future. Therefore, the provisions governing the recognising of teachers’ and principals’ services as a closed service will be published in November, and additional proposals will be adopted within six months. 

The gathering was also attended by Ven. Murutthettuwe Ananda Thera, Chief Prelate of the Western Province. Ven. Yalewela Pannasekara Thera of the All Ceylon United Teachers' Union, Ven. Meegahajandure Seelananda Thera of the Ceylon Pirivena Teachers' Union, Ven. Ulapane Sumangala Thera of the Teacher-Principal Trade Union Federation, P.M. Samarakoon of the All Ceylon Teachers' Instructors' Association, Sisira Kumara Ratnayake of the All Ceylon Government Active Principals' Association, W.A. Weerakody of the Principals' Association, Shehan Dissanayake of the Government Teachers' Association and Diwani Hettige of the Sri Lanka Independent Teachers' Association attended the meeting. 

Ministers Dinesh Gunawardena, Gamini Lokuge, Dullas Alahapperuma, Mahinda Amaraweera, Udaya Gammanpila, State Ministers Susil Premajayantha, Piyal Nishantha de Silva, Secretary to the Prime Minister, Secretary to the Ministry, Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Education Secretary R.P.M. Ratnayake and Director General of the National Budget Department Jude Nilukshan were also present.  

By Thameenah Razeek and Nabiya Vaffoor | Published: 2:00 AM Oct 13 2021

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