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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

FUTA to resume TU action unless ... - Dr. Devasiri

The Island 26/07/2011

by Dasun Edirisinghe

University teachers who suspended their trade union action last Thursday warned the government yesterday that unless their demands were granted as promised, they would be compelled to resume their protest.

President of the Federation of University Teachers Associations (FUTA) Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri, addressing a press conference in Colombo yesterday, said that they were well aware of the government’s way of handling trade union issues. "We are not ready to let them take us for a ride this time," he said.

Dr. Devasiri claimed that the government had a history of reneging on promises it made to university teachers since 2008. But, this time around, it would not be able to take them for a ride, he said.

According to FUTA, the government has agreed to appoint a committee to evolve lasting solutions to the university teachers’ salary issues and cancel a circular issued by the University Grants Commission preventing university dons from resigning from the posts held by them voluntarily, without giving three-months notice.

The government had also agreed to discuss the issues such as university teachers’ Research and Development Allowance and FUTA had therefore decided to suspend its trade union action, Dr. Devasiri said. FUTA wants that allowance made part of the teachers’ salaries.

He said FUTA agreed to the government’s proposal to increase the salary of a senior professor to Rs. 115,000, but it would be only Rs. 101,000 without that allowance.

Dr. Devasiri said there were only 38 senior professors in the country.

FUTA asked for a ten per cent salary increment for probationary lecturers, but the government had granted a pay hike of only 6.25 per cent. There had been no pay hikes for demonstrators, FUTA chief said.

University teachers resorted to trade union action to pressure the government to rectify their salary anomalies, with a token strike on March 15, 2011. They resigned from university administrative posts on May 09.