Colombo Telegraph

FUTA Temporarily And Conditionally Suspends Trade Union Action

The two-day token strike launched by the Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) has been temporarily and conditionally suspended at the end of the first day (March 8, 2017) due to the positive written response received by the University Grants Commission (UGC) on behalf of the Government, says the Secretary of the FUTA, Prof. Arjuna Parakrama.

Prof. Arjuna Parakrama

Issuing a statement today Prof. Parakrama said: “This trade union action in the form of a token strike was undertaken, albeit reluctantly, by FUTA because there was no progress achieved on the demand for the legitimate professional rights of its members despite six months of discussions and letters to the authorities. It was in order to focus the Government’s attention and seek remedies for the serious anomalies and breach of agreements that resulted of the salary revisions instituted by the present government that FUTA was forced to launch this trade union action.

“The annexed letter issued by the University Grants Commission (UGC) states that the Hon Prime Minister and Hon Ministers of Higher Education and Finance have intervened to take concrete steps to achieve a speedy and fair resolution to the university academic staff’s concerns as raised by FUTA.

“It is our view that the problem with university academic staff salaries is a reflection of the crisis affecting the entire education sector. Hence, unless the Government significantly increases its financial allocation for education as a whole, there can be no sustainable or just solution to these crucial issues.

“In restricting our trade union action to one day, we university academics have demonstrated our flexibility and principled approach, while at the same time reiterating our belief that the Government will honour its pledge to address our concerns swiftly. Thus, the strike has been suspended on the condition that the planned meeting with the Hon Minister of Finance and his staff will have a positive outcome. Thereafter, at end of a14-day period (on March 27) the concrete progress achieved will be assessed by FUTA in order to determine the nature and form of the next steps of its trade union action.

“We take this opportunity to express our gratitude to media institutions and individuals for the support that they have extended to us in this struggle for professional rights.”

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