Five demands of strikers met - Dr Nawaratne
Higher Education Ministry Secretary Dr Sunil Jayantha Nawaratna, said
five core demands of the striking academics have been met already and
the ministry is planning to deal with the rest of their demands to reach
an amicable solution to the problem.
Asked why the FUTA must stubbornly continue with their trade union
action while the government has indicated its commitment to resolve
their issues, FUTA Secretary Madujith said, they staged rallies with the
aim of having a negotiated settlement.
He said there have been over 20 meetings held between them and the
government to discuss their problems from July last year to July this
year. "They ended without much success," he said.
Asked if he implied that the government has not done anything at all
to answer their problems, Madujith said the government has passed a
broader policy document with eight conditions for higher education
This is consequent to our negotiations we had with Minister Basil
Rajapaksa and Treasury Secretary Dr. P B Jayasundara.
The policies received Cabinet approval. They incorporated and
increased allocation for education, establishment of a post-graduate
university within four years, autonomy of universities, establishing a
Presidential Commission to look into higher education reforms and
recognition of university academics under a special category.
"They also included that the government would improve infrastructure
and research facilities in universities, the government would obtain
assistance of university teachers when implementing educational reforms
and that it would obtain the assistance of university academics to
develop the country," he explained.
"The problem we have is that we want to know specific details as to
how the government would implement these policies. We have made 41
The government must have incorporated our demands to this Cabinet
note. But we need to to know the specific details of how they could
manifest and put them into operation," he said.
Commenting on their demand for a salary increase, Madujith said, they
have been referred to the Labour Commission for a process of voluntary