FUTA says govt. has changed strategy
July 23, 2012
University academics yesterday charged that the government had changed its strategy as there had been no communication to resolve their issues since the meeting they had with President’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunga two weeks ago.

“I think they want us to strike till we are exhausted. That seems to be their strategy now. But we will continue with our strike action till we win our demands,” Federation of University Teachers Association (FUTA) President Dr. Nirmal Dewasiri said.

“When we met Mr. Weeratunga who had a positive approach, we thought that we would be able to solve the problems after a series of discussions,” he added.

The academics began its strike on July 4 and despite several rounds of talks with high level government personnel, including two meetings with Mr. Weeratunga, no resolution to the strike has been forthcoming and they are also hoping to reach a new contract with the government that would solve problems ranging from salary to the lack of resources and academic freedom.

He said the Higher Education Ministry has not taken any step to solve the problems faced by the academics. Meanwhile FUTA is planning to get together with all trade unions in the education field to fight for common problems faced by them such as the allocation of six percent of the GDP for education.

The academics are also engaged in collecting one million signatures to make the public aware about their demands and also to educate them about the problems in the higher education sector.

The petition will be circulated in the vicinity of local Universities and academics, students or any member of the public will be encouraged to sign.

Heads of Departments and Deans are only engaged in conducting emergency duty and almost all academics in the university system are not taking part in their day to day duties now. With only the non-academics the university system cannot function in accordance with its required standard without the direct participation of the academics.

Source: Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka