Talks with PM fail, strike will continue – teachers


Actions of the Secretary to the Treasury and the Director General of the National Budget Department had prevented a resolution of the salary anomalies of principals and teachers during a meeting on Tuesday between the representatives of unions and the government, Ceylon Teachers Union (CTU) General Secretary, Joseph Stalin said yesterday, October 13.

Joseph Stalin said that they had discussed the matter with representatives of the government for over three and a half hours. “The government offered to grant a salary increment proposed by the ministerial subcommittee to rectify the salary anomaly in two stages, but only a one-ninth of the total increment was to be given in January 2022,” he said.

“We asked for the increment in one go. The government has one week until 21 October to take a decision. We had a discussion with Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on Tuesday for over three hours. Secretary to the Treasury and the Director General of National Budget Department kept on saying there were no funds,” he also said.

CTU General Secretary added that solving the salary issue would cost the government Rs. 30 billion a year. This is a paltry amount compared to some of the wasteful expenses of the government, he said.

Ceylon Teacher Services Union (CTSU) General Secretary, Mahinda Jayasinghe said that the government had offered to grant a one-ninth of the total increment by January 2022. The rest was to be paid in 2023.

“We can’t accept this. Who knows what will happen in 15 months? We were extremely flexible on Tuesday, but it took three and a half hours for the government even to make this concession. We are ready to go on for another 100 days until the government resolves this issue. The government plans to open some schools on 21 October. So, it has one week to resolve this crisis,” he said.

Ven. Yalwela Pagnnasekera Thera, Secretary of All Ceylon United Teachers Union (ACUTU) said that 31 unions backed the strike action and that they would soon reveal their future course of action. Representatives of 31 unions met yesterday to discuss the government’s proposal to address the long-standing salary anomalies of principals and teachers.