Teachers fury over discrimination

Place: North-East | Courtesy: TamilNet
| Date: 19990723

The Governor of the North East Province (NEPC), Major General (retd) Asoka Jayawardana, today prevented provincial officials from banking a treasury cheque for 150 million rupees, when several teacher-trade unions protested to decision of Education Ministry to first pay risk allowance and arrears in full to Sinhala teachers in the Amparai area and then share the remainder amongst Tamil and Muslim teachers in other districts, NEPC sources said.

The North East province consists of 24 education zones, including Ampara.

The Ceylon Tamil Teachers' Union today informed the Sri Lankan President, Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge by telegram that the Minister's decision to pay Sinhala teachers in full while sharing what was left amongst Tamil and Muslim teachers, is a case of outright discrimination.

Mr.Mahasivam, the CTTU's General Secretary appealed to the President to treat people from all communities alike.

Mr.Mahasivam appealed to the Minister of Education and Higher Education to reconsider his decision of paying allowance and arrears to Sinhala teachers in full and to Tamils and Muslims in instalments.

He further informed the President and Minister that CTTU would boycott G.C.E. A/L/ examination duties if equality was not observed in the matter.

Following a spate of protests from all parts of the NEP, the Governor instructed his officials to withdraw the cheque for 150 million rupees from education authorities and instructed that it be kept uncashed in the provincial treasury until dispute is sorted out, NEPC sources said.

The Deputy Minister told delegation of CTTU last Wednesday that the Treasury had released 150 million rupees to be paid as risk allowance and arrears to teachers and principals in the north east province.

But on Thursday, Minister of Education told a deputation of teacher unions from Ampara education zone that they would be paid in full from the allocated Rs 150 million and the Tamil and Muslim teachers in the zones in north east province would be paid from the balance in instalments.

Teaching unions protest against discriminatory decision
[TamilNet, July 25, 1999 20:35 GMT]

Seven Tamil and Muslim teaching trade unions unanimously decided today to picket the offices of the North east Provincial Ministry of Education and the Department of Education in Trincomalee on the Morning of July 26 to protest against what they see as a discriminatory pay award.

The central Ministry of Education decided that a treasury allowance of Rs.150 million should be used to pay the salary and risk allowance arrears of Sinhala teachers in Amparai in full while the remainder would be shared out between Tamil and Muslim teachers in the rest of the province. According to the proposed plan Tamil and Muslim teachers would also receive their arrears in instalments while the Sinhala teachers would receive a lump sum payment.

The Ceylon Tamil Teacher's Unioun (CTTU) had previously decided to launch a one day strike by teachers, principals and non academic staff on July 29 in relation to other issues including the transport of teaching material into LTTE held areas and factual and grammatical mistakes in Tamil textbooks.

The decision to move the protest to July 26 was taken after seven Tamil and Muslim teachers' unions held an unexpected meeting at the Trincomalee Vigneswara Maha Vidyalayam this evening.

The Ceylon Tamil Teachers' Union; the North East province Tamil Teachers Alliance; the North East General Teachers Union; the Trincomalee District Principals' Association; the Ceylon Teachers' Congress; the Ceylon Islamic Teachers' Union and the Trincomalee Graduate Teachers' Union have now joined hands to fight against the Minister of Education's decision, sources said.

Officials attached to the Provincial Ministry of Education and the Department of Education in Trincomalee will not be allowed to enter their offices until the Minister's education is revoked, sources said.