PM intervenes to eliminate the 25-year teacher-principal salary anomaly

* PM intervenes to eliminate the 25-year teacher-principal salary anomaly

Wed, Nov 10, 2021, 11:52 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

• Additional Rs. 30 billion to eliminate salary anomaly
• For the first time in history 7.51 percent of the total budget for education

Nov 10, Colombo: Representatives of the Teachers’ and Principals’ Trade Union Alliance have commended the Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and the government for the elimination of the salary anomaly that has existed for nearly 25 years, Prime Minister’s Office said.

At a meeting held today (10) at Committee Room 01 of Parliament to announce the elimination of the salary anomaly the Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa briefing the representatives of the Teachers’ and Principals’ Trade Union Alliance (TPTUA) said an additional Rs. 30 billion will be allocated in the forthcoming budget to eliminate teacher-principal salary disparities for the future of children and the country.

Accordingly, for the first time in history, the expenditure on education in the country will be 7.51 percent of the total budget, the Minister said.

Accordingly, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa thanked Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa for fulfilling the trade union demand.

The Minister of Education Dinesh Gunawardena explained the purpose of this discussion.

Mrs. Wasantha Handapangoda, the president of the Sri Lanka Podujana Education Services Union, handed over the resolution passed by the union to resolve the teacher-principal salary anomaly to the Minister of Finance, Basil Rajapaksa.

Recognizing the need for a time frame to eliminate the total wage disparity in the crisis created in 1997, the Teachers’ and Principals’ Union representatives have said that they were pleased to receive one-third of the recommended salary increase from the upcoming budget as a starting point.

Addressing the gathering Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa said they first discussed the issue at the Cabinet meeting on July 26. A committee comprising Ministers Prof. GL Peiris, Gamini Lokuge, Dr. Bandula Gunawardena, Wimal Weerawansa, Udaya Gammanpila, Ramesh Pathirana and Lasantha Alagiyawanna was appointed. The Committee was later limited to 4 people and it made a recommendation.

“My observation as the Minister of Finance was that basically all these demands were not a salary increase. This is a pay gap of twenty-five years for teachers and principals. The request was made to rectify this. Our recommendation was that it should be considered in the forthcoming budget so as not to create salary inequality in the entire public service.”

“Now comes the budget. The Cabinet has agreed to the relevant recommendations. In this regard, all political parties, including the Chief Incumbent of Malwathu and Asgiriya chapters, have called on me to resolve the issue of teachers and principals in this budget.”

The Finance Minister said that Prime Minister and especially the President and the Minister of Education have recommended that this issue should definitely be resolved.

“We have received a lot of support from the trade unions at this time. The only thing we wanted was to give children an education. At present all schools are open and school activities are carried out in accordance with health recommendations. So we hope to allocate this recommended amount, albeit with great difficulty,” he said.

“This is to eliminate inequality and not to increase wages. I urge the trade unions, including the Maha Sangha present here, to see this measure as a just solution to the wage disparity that has been unresolved for twenty some years.”

In addition to the amount currently allocated with the approval of the Cabinet, Rs. 30,000 million will be allocated from our forthcoming budget to eliminate teacher and principal salary disparities, the Minister said adding that 7.51 percent of total expenditure will be allocated for education in the budget.

“We acknowledge that education is the biggest investment in this country. When it comes to health and education, we are on par with some developed countries in the world. We are at the top in South Asia. We urge all these trade union representatives to increase investment as well as productivity. I request the support of all of you to the Ministry of Education and the Government to develop education. As the Minister of Finance, we can talk about demands that go beyond that,” said Minister Basil Rajapaksa.

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