Teachers divided on union action

By Chathuri Dissanayake

The Ceylon Teachers’ Union, which has broken away from an alliance of other teacher unions on the issue of salary anomalies, has asked its members to refrain from doing any extra duties outside their core classroom duties until the salary anomalies are completely rectified.

The trade union action means that teachers will refuse to be involved in all school support services and other duties. These include the distribution of textbooks, student admissions and various forms of administrative work.

Currently, these duties are being handled by teachers in government schools in order to facilitate the smooth running of these institutions. “We will not be performing these extra duties – we will stick to just our teaching duties,” said Joseph Stalin, president of the Ceylon Teachers’ Union. “We will keep up this action until the salary anomalies are addressed and a proper solution found.”

According to Mr. Stalin, teachers of his union will attend seminars held after school hours only if they received a participation allowance. They will not take up any duties that were not related to teaching, inside or outside schools, he said.

Meanwhile, the three other main teacher unions, led by the Ceylon Teacher Services Union, have said they will not support the Ceylon Teachers’ Union in their latest move. “We will not show support for this action called by the Ceylon Teachers’ Union,” said Mahinda Jayasinghe, president of the Ceylon Teacher Services Union.

“And we take no responsibility for any action taken by them either. We strongly oppose this type of action, which will only put pressure on the students. “Furthermore, such action could give rise to friction between the teachers and the students,” he said.

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