Academics turn to Minister Basil Rajapaksa for solution
The strike by university lecturers has taken a new turn with the
striking academics not having been paid their July salaries by the
Higher Education Ministry. The Secretary of the striking university
academics trade union, the Federation of University Teachers’
Associations (FUTA) Terrance Madujith yesterday said they plan to find a
solution to their problems through talks with Economic Development
Minister Basil Rajapaksa.
“We are eagerly waiting for our next round of talks with the minister
during the course of the week,” Madujith said. The strike will continue
in spite of the negotiations, he said.
FUTA officials discussed their demands to end their strike with the
Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga on several occasions with
the last discussion on July 12.
On being asked why the university teachers have not got their July
pay, Higher Education Ministry Secretary Dr Sunil Jayantha Navaratne
yesterday said they did not pay their salaries because they failed to
report for duties during the month concerned.
“They have applied for leave, but the minister has not approved it,”
Dr Navaratne said.
Commenting on the situation of their July salaries not being paid to
them, Madujith said: “We do not deserve a salary for July. We did not
work during the month. So we were not paid.”
Asked what they would do if the stalemate continued, Madujith said:
“We will be compelled to look for alternative sources of income. In fact
some academics are looking for foreign jobs already.
Dr Navaratne said they hope that the academics will stop becoming
victims of political elements inciting their strike action.
The JVP last week openly admitted during a television debate they are
behind the university teachers’ strike action.