We are a concerned group of academics fighting to ensure the opportunity of high quality public higher education for the Sri Lankan masses. This blog is intended as a bulletin board to share news and ideas relevant to the cause. The views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the FUTA. If you wish to post any interesting articles please e-mail them to uteachers.sl at gmail.com
The trade union action by the Federation of University Teachers Association (FUTA) will be temporarily called off tomorrow, Dr. Mahim Mendis spokesman for FUTA said.
FUTA said its decision was based mainly on its responsibility towards the students though it was dissatisfied with the government’s response to the demands put forward by FUTA.
FUTA spokesman Dr. Mahim Mendis charged that the government’s proposals did not address any of their concerns that had been repeatedly highlighted during the past three months. He said most of the proposals were vague and neither here or there.
Dr. Mendis said it was up to the government to upgrade its education policies and implement them the next budget was due.
He said the union would continue its struggle to win their demands despite having called off the strike.
“We are absolutely dissatisfied with the government’s proposals. We come back to work not because we are pleased with what the government has to offer but out of a sense of responsibility towards the students,” Dr. Mendis said.
He said the government had agreed to grant some of the demands such as the payment of their salaries for the past three months and the withdrawal of some of the circulars, which were believed to have had an adverse impact on the university system.
However Dr. Mendis said FUTA’s main demands for a salary increase, a six per cent increase in government spending on the education sector and the need for autonomy in the university system had not been clearly addressed in the Cabinet memo issued in August.
“They have promised to increase government spending but have not informed us how they will do it or the timeframe for doing it. The Government has also said salaries will be increased based on a five-year mid-term policy but we have not been told quantum of the salary increase. These matters are extremely vague,” he said.
Dr. Mendis said the discussions with the Government were futile mainly because it had failed to address the grievances expressed by FUTA and the concerns of the people.
He said FUTA would hold a media briefing today to highlighted their concerns. (Olindhi Jayasundere)