Teachers, health workers in Sri Lanka promise TU action on Nov 9 over salary issues

ECONOMYNEXT – School teachers and health sector workers in Sri Lanka are to engage in trade union activity on Tuesday (09) over salary anomalies and other issues.

Declaring a national day of protests, Ceylon Teachers’ Union (CTU) general secretary Joseph Stalin told reporters on Monday (08) that school teachers and principals affiliated with the union will hold protests outside all zonal education offices around the island.

The union is demanding a speedy solution to a long standing grievance of unresolved salary anomalies. A protest held last Wednesday (03) saw the participation of a number of parents who the union leaders claimed had thrown their weight behind the teachers.

“We are seeking a solution to the teachers’ and principals’ salary anomaly and solutions to other problems the country is facing,” said Stalin.

“If there is no solution provided tomorrow, we shall go for a massive campaign on the day of the budget (November 12),” he added.

School teachers and principals in Sri Lanka were on strike for over 100 days over the issue. Though they have now returned to work, the protests continue sporadically. The government proposed to increase their salaries in a four-year strategy, but upon the rejection of that proposal, the government later proposed to provide the increments in two instalments, an offer rejected by the unions who want the increment in one go.

Meanwhile, 16 trade unions in the health sector have also announced a 24-hour token strike tomorrow over promotions and salary anomalies.

President of the Association of Government Medical Laboratory Technologists Ravi Kumudesh told reporters on Monday that the strike will begin at 7am Tuesday.

“We tried to negotiate a solution. We tried protesting at times, without a disruption to the health service. None of these efforts bore fruit. So we have decided to go for this strike,” he said.

Sri Lanka has seen a series of protests over the past few months, each seemingly more intense than the last as a cash-strapped government prepares for Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa’s inaugural budget presentation on Friday (12). (Colombo/Nov08/2021)

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