Environment Minister, Mahinda Amaraweera yesterday, August 4, called upon teachers and principals to resume work on behalf of the children as the Government has taken the most reasonable decision on their salary anomaly issue in the face of a sharp decline in Government revenue due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We hope that whatever stance is maintained by the trade unions, the majority of the teachers and principals will engage in their online teaching considering the severe hardships faced by children,” the Minister, who is a member of the Cabinet Sub-Committee appointed to look into the teacher-principal salary anomaly issue, said.
When the Cabinet had approved all the recommendations put forward by the Cabinet Sub-Committee, the decision taken by the teachers’ and principals’ trade unions to carry on their trade union action was not justified, he said.
Minister Amaraweera said, “We also hope to sort out this issue without having any confrontation with teachers and principals. Therefore, we will not make any comment against them. Our sole intention is that teachers and principals would voluntarily return to their teaching, thinking of the children”.
The Minister also said the Sub-Committee had recommended declaring the teacher services, teacher advisory services and principal services as a closed service through a Gazette notification before November 20 this year. It has also been decided to implement the salary revisions recommended by the Cabinet Sub-Committee to eliminate the salary anomalies of teachers and principals, in stages through the 2022 Budget proposals.
The Cabinet of Ministers also decided to grant an allowance of Rs. 5,000 to teachers and principals who are on duty this month and next month.
Minister Amaraweera said the Sub Committee has recommended a separate allowance for principals and teachers working in remote areas. The Committee has also proposed that all privileges pertaining to staff grades should be given to all the principals in that grade.
The Minister said amid severe economic hardships due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government has given the maximum possible relief to the teachers and principals. In addition to the salary anomaly issue faced by teachers and principals, the Cabinet Sub- Committee has given concrete solutions to 10 other issues faced by them which had not been resolved over the past 24 years. Therefore, the Cabinet has endorsed all the recommendations made by the Cabinet Sub Committee appointed to look into teacher and principal salary anomalies.
At the weekly Cabinet press briefing, Education Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said that the Government has decided to eliminate the salary anomalies in the teacher-principal services under several phases within the next four years. The Minister said the matter remained unresolved under multiple regimes and this decision to provide a permanent solution to the salary anomalies issue had been taken after considering the recommendations of the Cabinet Sub-Committee.