Teacher's Union prepares for strike action

[TamilNet, Saturday, 17 July 1999, 20:35 GMT]
The Ceylon Tamil Teacher's Union has asked the student community of the North-east to stay at home on July 19 when teachers, principals and non-academic staff boycott schools by sending sick notes in support of the nine demands put forward by the CTTU to the Ministry of Education and Higher Education.

This appeal was made in a statement issued by the General Secretary of the CTTU, Mr.T.Mahasivam, today.

The statement said that the students would avoid undesirable incidents by staying at home.

The demands put forward by the CTTU include: the lifting of a ban prohibiting the transport of computers, chemicals and other equipment needed for teaching into the LTTE controlled areas of the North-east and the immediate withdrawal of Tamil text books published by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education that contain a distorted version of history and several factual and grammatical errors.

Mr.Mahasivam further stated that the CTTU took steps to settle the issue by having talks with ministry officials but was forced to hold a one day token strike when these talks proved fruitless.

He added that if the talks scheduled to be held with the Deputy Minister of Education in Colombo on July 21 failed, the CTTU would meet immediately to finalise the second stage of its trade union action.

The second stage would probably be a boycott of the G.C.E.Advanced Level examination scheduled to commence on August 2 throughout the country.

Meanwhile the Commissioner General of Examinations, A.M.R.B. Amarakone, has cautioned the Ministry of Education and Higher Education to settle the dispute with the CTTU as early as possible.

The Commissioner General made the appeal after a top-level conference with zonal and provincial directors in the North-east province in regard to the arrangements for conducting the GCE A/L/examination.

Provincial and zonal directors at that conference told the Commissioner General that if the CTTU launched a boycott campaign, it would disrupt the examination process in the North-east province, ministry sources said.

Mr.T.Mahasivam further said that other teacher's organisations including: the Sri Lanka Freedom Party controlled Independent Teachers' Association; All Ceylon Muslim Teachers' Congress; Independent Teachers' Alliance and some sections of the All Ceylon Islamic Teachers' Union in Vavuniya, Batticaloa and Trincomalee have thrown their weight behind the one-day token strike organised by the Ceylon Tamil Teachers' Union.

The Sri Lanka Freedom Party is the main party in the coalition People's Alliance government.

Mr. Mahasivam said that the National Vice President of the All Ceylon Islamic Teachers' Union, Alhaj M.M.Anas, had informed him that members of his union would send sick notes on July 19 and would stay away from attending schools. Likewise the Vavuniya branch of the Independent Teachers' Union has also informed him of their participation, Mr. Mahasivam added.

The All Ceylon General Employees Union, which represents the non-academic staff in North-east schools, has already issued a statement in support of the trade union action by the CTTU.


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