Teachers and principals in Sri Lanka are to join a strike called by the Coordinating Committee for Trade Union Alliance on May 21st, against the rise in electricity prices. Teachers have not had a pay rise since 2005, under conditions where there have been high levels of inflation. As is so often the case, particularly in the Global South, when teachers and other people are suffering economic hardship, the International Monetary Fund has a hand in the situation. In a press release dated February 2013, the IMF states: The mission discussed the financial performances of the Ceylon Electricity Board and Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, which were adversely affected by last year’s drought, and emphasized the need to move toward cost recovery pricing to place them on a sustainable footing.

The Lanka Teacher Services Union has issued the following statement announcing their participation in the strike:

"Teachers have not received any salary increase since 2005 except for a few allowances. As such, the increase in electricity tariffs would be a serious situation. Issues regarding salary anomalies have continued since 1997. Two struggles were carried out last year.  The teachers have not received any promotions. They have worked without promotions since 2010. 225000 teachers carry out their services under such pathetic conditions.

It is in such a situation that the electricity tariffs are increased. Normally teachers consume more than 90 units. As such, teachers' trade unions have decided to join the token strike called by the Coordinating Committee for Trade Union Alliance on the 21st if the increased tariffs are not withdrawn.

We have informed Secretaries of Ministries of Education and Provincial Councils in writing that we would join the token strike. The government tries to deceive the masses by bringing in various amendments. We say the whole increased package should be withdrawn. We would join the protest march against the tariff hike to be held on the 15th.

During our struggles the government attempted to repress them through intimidation and terror tactics. Now police have been asked to collect lists of trade union leaders in certain areas. We would want to know why gentlemen in the police need lists of trade union leaders.  We say such petty acts would not be able to defeat our activities and struggles. We would dedicate ourselves to defeat vile actions of the government and make the struggle on the 21st a total success."