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Sunday, July 17, 2011

FUTA Wants A Road Map

The Sunday Leader 17/07/2011

Trade union action will stop only after  proposed conditions are explained

By Gazala Anver

Following negotiations with the Government about salary increments for academics, the Federation of University Teachers Association (FUTA) said that a detailed plan of proposed conditions are needed before trade union action can be stopped.

President of FUTA, Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri said that after meeting with the Government, President Rajapaksa offered an alternative Rs. 115,000 salary for senior professors. “The decision made by the executive committee of FUTA however is that we need a road map, that is more information, before stopping trade union action,” he said, adding that they need to know how this increment will be implemented, the effective date and other details before proceeding.

In addition, Devasiri said that other demands were not discussed during the meeting. “We will take the total package to the membership and then take the decision,” he said, “We need to look at the other aspects and see if the other conditions are accepted. That should give us a clearer idea.”

According to Devasiri the President had said that at this point it was impossible to go beyond the proposed figure, and that the requirements of the academics will be more favourable when the next budget is drawn up. “We need to have a detailed meeting with Dr. P.B. Jayasundera and Dr. Sunil Jayantha Navarathna to discuss the other demands.”

Secretary to the Ministry of Higher Education, Dr. Sunil Jayantha Navarathna, meanwhile said that the President has resolved the main issue of the “salary anomaly”. “FUTA requested Rs. 120,000 for the senior professors but agreed on Rs. 115,000,” he said, adding that it is only minor issues such as vehicle permits that now need to be resolved.

According to Navarathna, FUTA requested for vehicle permits for professors who have worked for six years, instead of 12 years as was previously the rule. The Government has however agreed on eight years, he said.