Varsity non-academics end 31-day strike | Daily News


Awaiting Salary Commission proposals :

Varsity non-academics end 31-day strike

The month-long strike by state university non-academic employees will end from next week following a decision by their trade union alliance to suspend their action until November 2nd following successful negotiations with the Government. A spokesperson for the University Trade Union Alliance (UTUA) told the Daily News that they will suspend their action in expectation of proposals to be put forward by the National Salaries Commission in November.

The non-academic staff cadres stopped work for 31-days disrupting the state higher education sector over unresolved salary anomalies.

The decision to return to work was reached after a Cabinet decision earlier this week to resolve the issue. Accordingly, an agreement was signed yesterday between the Higher Education Ministry, the University Grants Commission and the University Trade Union Alliance.

In keeping with the agreement, all members of UTUA have been asked to resume their work on Monday (14th).

Alliance spokesperson Saman Kariyawasam told the Daily News that the non-academic staffers are paid on a different scale compared with civil servants, which deprives them of pensions, insurance, transfers and other welfare benefits.

“Following the 2016 budget, non-academics were placed on a different grading which deprived them of many benefits. We are not asking for an increment, we are merely asking to be considered on par with other civil servants,” he said. “We have been told that the NSC will revert with their suggestions on November 2nd. If we find those suggestions to be unsatisfactory we will resume strike action without notice.”

Kariyawasam said that Cabinet was in consensus over the discrepancy only during the last cabinet meeting, which prompted the Government to direct the National Salaries Commmission to recommend appropriate changes to the employment grades.

To address the issue of salary anomalies, two cabinet papers were presented. UTUA however refused to accept the recommendations in the first cabinet paper and continued with their strike action.

The two papers have also directed the Ministry Secretary to provide the necessary information to the Salaries and Cadres Commission to resolve the issue. The two cabinet papers have also stated that the proposals submitted by the NSC within a month will be submitted to the Cabinet after obtaining the concurrence of the trade unions.

According to the cabinet paper, the salary scale and grading should be in accordance with that of civil servants. The agreement was signed by the Secretary to the Ministry and the President and Secretary of the University Commission and representatives of the University Trade Union Alliance.



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