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Friday, May 27, 2011

Salary issue Dons to continue TU action

Friday, 27 May 2011 00:27 
Meeting with President ends in stalemate

The education sector crisis may deepen further with university lecturers yesterday vowing to continue their trade union action after Wednesday’s meeting between President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Federation of University Teachers Association (FUTA) ended in a stalemate.
The FUTA President Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri said though the President acknowledged the salary issue of the academics, they did not receive any positive response to their demands nor were there signs of a mutually accepted solution forthcoming soon.
“We were told that a salary increase for academics was unfeasible at the moment. The President said the solution to our demands should be on a ‘win-win’ basis though he did not explain what he meant by that,” he added.
The academics resigned from their voluntary administrative positions on May 9 as part of a series of trade union action urging the government to grant a reasonable salary increase to academics. Dr. Dewasiri claimed that the FUTA-organised trade union action was successful and with more than 90 per cent of academics resigning.
However, the University Grants Commission (UGC) claimed only 147 academics out of some 317 department heads had kept away from work.
Even though the union action was expected to impact on administrative operations at universities, by now even academic activities in most universities have been crippled. University sources claim that students in some universities have refrained from attending lectures as a move towards expressing their solidarity with the demands put forward by the academics.
Meanwhile, the academics had also announced they would abstain from the 2011 GCE A/L evaluation process if their resonable salary demand was not granted.