Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Report on the Third Official Discussion

The following report on the Third Official Discussion Held between the FUTA Delegation and the Government at the General Treasury on 6th June 2011 at 3.00pm. is an extract from an e-mail circulated by the Asst Secretary / FUTA.

This is to bring to the attention of the FUTA members in sister unions that we were able to complete another round of formal discussions with the government on our salary proposals. This is in addition to the informal meetings conducted during the past week with the Treasury Secretary on three occasions including the one with Honorable Basil Rajapakse at short notice.

At today’s discussion, the FUTA was led by Professor Sumanasiri Liyanage of the University of Peradeniya and four others officially mandated by the Association. The government was represented by the Secretary to the Treasury, the Chairman of the Salaries and Cadre Commission and other Treasury officials. The discussion which commenced at 3.00 pm lasted for approximately 1.5 hours and the environment was cordial.

The FUTA delegation pursued the discussion on the basis of the Malik- Jiffrey Committee Report of 2008 as done earlier with Rs. 168, 750.00 for Senior Professors and Rs. 40000.00 for Demonstrators, since as a professional association we believe in consistency of what we ask for in this struggle. We reminded the Treasury Secretary that we have demonstrated flexibility in working towards a solution in 2010 with the salaries of Institute of Fundamental Studies as a benchmark. This made us reach the compromise of Rs. 132000.00 as the take home pay of senior professors in 2010. It was however reminded that the most senior professors still continue to receive a salary which is less than Rs.85,000.00 as the take home pay in spite of the alleged 36.25% increase at the last budget.
The Treasury stated that they are constrained by the current norms for government salaries and would contextually propose a considerably lower take home pay at the senior most level. This too he said will be a challenge for him to convince the government. However, it was the position of the FUTA, that at this moment of time we cannot agree to an interim solution which gives less than what was promised in 2010 at Rs. 132,000.00. We reiterated that there should be clear evidence of steps that would move towards the ultimate goal of Rs. 168,750 in any future agreement.

At this stage, the Secretary to the Treasury promised to meet with the FUTA after consulting His Excellency the President as early as possible. The meeting was adjourned with this position.

The FUTA on its part has firmly resolved to continue with strong Trade Union actions until we win our demands.

FUTA Delegation
Prof. Sumanasiri Liyanage - University of Peradeniya
Dr. U . Anurakumara - University of Jayawardenepura
Dr. Prabhath Jayasinghe - University of Colombo
Dr. Mahim Mendis - Open University of Sri Lanka
Eng. Anura Wijayapala - University of Moratuwa