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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Academics not satisfied

Daily Mirror 20/07/2011

The Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) said yesterday that the academics were not satisfied with the outcome of the discussions held between FUTA members and government officials on Monday and added that they would continue the trade union action until their demands were met.

Following a meeting held with members yesterday, FUTA President Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri said that they had put forward three main demands to be met by the government before they accepted the government's interim proposals regarding academics’ salaries.  

The first demand highlighted by FUTA was the removal of the conditions imposed on components of the academics' salaries.

"During last week's discussions with the president, he had proposed a salary of Rs. 115,000 for a senior lecturer. However, during Monday's meeting it was noted that the above sum was inclusive of the Research and Development (R&D) allowance, although the R&D allowance was not a part of the salary as it was separately reimbursed. This condition brought down the actual salary of a senior lecturer to Rs. 101, 000," said Dr. Dewasiri, adding that the proposed new salary should not be inclusive of any allowances and should be implemented as a proper salary revision.

FUTA had also urged the appointment of a committee that would focus on providing academics with a solution to their ultimate demands. "If the government is unable to provide us with a written statement, assuring us of providing a solution to our ultimate demands, a committee should be appointed to ensure that the issue is addressed. The committee should consist of FUTA members, government officials (with representatives from the Higher Education ministry) and the treasury secretary," he said.

As their third demand, FUTA wanted circular No. 956 issued by the University Grants Commission on May 3 withdrawn. "The circular has made it compulsory for academics holding voluntary administrative positions to tender three months notice prior to resignation. However, the academics are not ready to accept their voluntary administrative positions under such conditions," said Dr. Dewasiri.

Speaking further Dr. Dewasiri said FUTA would write to the president tomorrow requesting him to instruct the officials to meet their demands and added that stopping their trade union action would be dependent on the meeting of their demands.

(Lakna Paranamanna)