Written by Zulfick Farzan
12 Oct, 2021 | 3:45 pm
COLOMBO (News 1st); The Prime Minister’s Media Unit said that trade union representatives were made aware of the solutions that the government would provide to call off the ongoing strike.
Rohan Weliwita, the Media Secretary to the Prime Minister told News 1st that trade union representatives met with Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on Tuesday (12) afternoon for talks.
Teacher and Principal Trade Unions said they would discuss the solutions presented by the Government with their members and thereafter reached an agreement.
Ceylon Teachers Services Union General Secretary Mahinda Jayasinghe speaking to News 1st said the demand was for the proposed salary to be given at once, to which the government had responded in the negative.
However, the proposed salary will be provided via two installments by the government, he told News 1st.
He said the proposals will be discussed among the trade unions at length in order to reach a final decision.
On the 12th of July, Fourteen trade unions representing teachers and principals went on strike despite calls from the government to give up their trade union action and continue with teaching activities.
The Trade Unions representing Teachers and Principals are making the following key demands :
01. Permanent solution to the perennial salary anomaly issue.
02. Immediate withdrawal of the Kotelawala Defence University Bill
03. Allocation of 6% of GDP for education
04. Permanent solutions to service issues faced by Principals and Teachers.
05. System for Extra-Curricular Activities attended by Teachers and Principals
However, as discussions with respective authorities have failed to provide permanent solutions to these issues among others, trade unions continued with their strike.
How did the issue begin?
The Sri Lanka Teacher’s Service was established in 1994, with each grade bearing a salary similar to other sectors in the public administrative service.
Trade unions say the B.C. Perera Salaries Commission of 1997 and the Lionel Fernando and Saliya Mathew Salaries Commission of 2006 had recommended considering teaching as a separate service.
They pointed out that teachers had not received salary increments in 1997 when the salaries for other sectors had been hiked.
When the matter was referred to the court in 2008, the court had ordered teaching to be considered a separate service.
Trade unions say that the salary increments offered to teachers and principals are not equal to the salaries earned in other sectors.
They outline that the salary of a Grade-1 teacher should increase by about 29,000 rupees if the increments are to be made in line with other services in the public sector.
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