Friday, December 04, 2009

Tear gas used to disperse teachers

By Supun Dias - A tense situation prevailed at Kollupitiya Junction last evening, when police used tear gas to disperse a group of protestors from the All Ceylon Assistant Teachers’ Union who staged a demonstration. The assistant teachers were demanding that their appointments be made permanent.

Six protestors were arrested by the police. Twelve persons, including six policemen, were injured during the clash.

Police said they were forced to use tear gas when protestors tried to enter the High Security Zone (HSZ) where Temple Trees is situated.

A majority of the protestors were from the North Central, Uva and Sabaragamuwa Provinces; a few were from the Western Province. The protesters urged President Mahinda Rajapaksa to grant them permanent appointments as teachers at any school in the country.

"A number of permanent appointments were given in the Northern and Eastern Provinces; we should also be treated similarly," said a spokesman for the union.

The teachers said that they had taught children for years without considering the allowance they got -- which was Rs.3000 a month.

"Initially we were given appointments as voluntary teachers as most of the schools, especially in the North Central and Uva Provinces, lacked teachers and principals. At that time an allowance of Rs. 3000 per month was paid," the spokesman said.

The government later appointed 4200 as assistant teachers. The authorities promised to increase the allowance to Rs.6000 when a demonstration was held by the Ceylon Teachers’ Union on World Teachers’ Day, the protesters said.

The demonstrators said that further trade union action would be taken before the Presidential Election if the authorities failed to grant them permanent appointments as teachers.

© Daily Mirror

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