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Friday, July 29, 2011

VCs, lecturers split hairs, while varsities remain paralysed

The Island 29/07/2011

by Dasun Edirisinghe

Vice Chancellors of universities, who met yesterday at the Open University, Nawala, decided to request university lecturers "to resume duties in the posts they held prior to their strike action." This decision was taken to ensure restoration of normalcy in the universities, Chairman of the Committee of Vice Chancellors and Directors (CVCD) Prof K. A. Nandasena told ‘The Island’.

The meeting was summoned to find ways to end the impasse that had been caused by a decision taken by the vice chancellors of the universities not to issue fresh letters re-appointing university lecturers to the voluntary posts from which they had resigned as part of their trade union action, he said.

The CVCD, at the end of the meeting issued a letter commending the decision of the Federation of the University Teachers’ Associations to suspend their trade union action. "Since the university councils which are the appointing authorities have not accepted the letters of resignation of Heads of Department submitted at the commencement of the trade union action on May 09, 2011, the CVCD is of the view that the necessity to re-appoint Heads of Departments does not arise. To ensure the normalcy in the universities, the CVCD requests all academics who were on trade union action to resume duties in the posts they held prior to trade union action," the letter said.

President of the Federation of University Teachers Associations (FUTA) Dr Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri told ‘The Island’ that they too have been sent a copy of the letter. However, the letter had two contradictory points which the academics have to consider seriously before deciding their future course of action, he said. "The letter by the CVCD commending the suspension of trade union action accepts that we had engaged in such an action. The trade union action was the resigning from the posts of heads of departments. In the meantime it says there was no necessity of issuing letters of reappointment. These two contradictions could not be ignored," he said.

Dr Devasiri said that the executive committee of the FUTA would meet this evening (29) to discuss the contents of the letter from the CVCD and decide the future course of action.