Monday, May 23, 2011

President to meet non-FUTA dons Not right - Dr. Mahim

The Nation, 22/05/2011, By Arthur Wamanan
The friction between the university teachers and the government has aggravated further last week when President Mahinda Rajapaksa called for a meeting with lecturers who are not in the association.
The President is expected to meet with lecturers who are not involved with the association tomorrow evening to discuss matters in relation to the issues faced by the university teachers.
The proposed meeting however, has not been welcomed by the Federation of the University Teachers’ Association (FUTA), which has been agitating for a salary increase for the past several months.

Spokesperson for FUTA, Dr. Mahim Mendis said that it was not right of the President to meet the lecturers outside the association without talking to the concerned party.
“This is totally absurd. There is no point talking to teachers who are outside the FUTA. We are the people who have been campaigning for a salary increase and therefore, it is only logical to discuss the matters with us,” he said.
The Higher Education Ministry confirmed that the President would meet lecturers who are not involved in the agitation tomorrow evening.
Secretary to the Ministry, Dr. Sunil Jayantha Navaratne told The Nation that the President would meet these lecturers in order to get detailed information with regard to the issue.
“The President wanted to meet the teachers who were supporting the government in order to get a clear picture of the whole issue. That is the reason,” he said.
He also said the demands of the FUTA had been conveyed to the President. Dr. Mendis however said that they had not been notified or invited for any discussions so far.
Dr. Navaratne said the President would meet the FUTA members after tomorrow’s meeting. “We are waiting for an appointment with the President for meeting with FUTA,” Dr. Navaratne added.
The FUTA had been campaigning for a salary increase for the university teachers and threatened that it would step down from administrative level if a solution was not provided by the end of this month.
Dr. Mendis said that more than 90% of the Deans and Heads of Departments had already stepped down from administrative levels, while Higher Education Minister S.B. Dissanayake had maintained the percentage was much lower..