The JVP was at the forefront of the struggle by teachers and principals demanding rectification of their salary anomalies, JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva said yesterday, October 19.
Asked during a press conference held at the party headquarters to comment on government ministers’ accusation that the party was behind the teachers strike action, Mr. Silva said, “We are not behind it. We are at the vanguard because we accept that the struggle by teachers and principals is just and reasonable. The JVP is always at the forefront of just and reasonable struggles by anyone. Giving leadership to people’s struggles is politics”.
“Actually, it is the government that politicised this issue first. They did so by bringing in teachers and principals to their political advantage. They did so by including the teachers and principals in their policy manifesto and promising solutions to get votes. Now, there is no point in accusing others. If the government ministers think that we are making political capital out of this issue, the path is well open for them to deprive us of that capital and gain itself the same capital. All it has to do is just deliver what it has promised so that the political advantage would be theirs. That would solve the problem too,” Mr. Silva also said.
Mr. Silva said that the teachers and principals of government schools and pirivena schools had resorted to trade union actions after trying talks and discussions for months with education authorities and the government.
Mr. Tilvin Silva also said:
“The government continuously ignored their demands and kept blaming the teachers. Thereafter they tried to describe the struggle as an enemy action against children. The sinister motive of creating such public opinion was to set the parents against teachers. In the meantime, teachers and principals made a very influential decision that they would take up the responsibility themselves to give education to children while continuing their struggle till their demands are met.
They said they would report to work not on Oct 21 or 22 but on 25. That was a very decisive blow against the government’s campaign against teachers. We applaud the teachers and principals for their decision.
It also put an end to the government’s sudden found love for children’s education. If the government really cared for children’s education it should have given a decent salary to the teachers. The government came to power promising to rectify the teachers’ salary anomaly issue but soon reneged on their promise.
All that the government needs is to find Rs 64 billion to solve this problem. If it cuts down its waste and extravagances this could have been done easily”.