University teachers launch strike today
Posted on July 4th, 2012

By Charles.S.Perera

It was a foregone conclusion that Devasiri’s Strike will continue at any rate, even if their demands were to be granted as  Devasiri has a personal vendetta against the Government and the strike is an  excuse to embarrass the government .

It is regrettable that the intellectual academicians of the country allow themselves to be driven like cattle by a man like Nirmal Ranjit Devasiri, merely because he happens to be the  President of FUTA without using their brains, if they have any ,to question the  fairness of a strike in our country at this time.

 Nirmal Ranjit Devasiri wants to be an important man in the country who plays the tune for the government to dance.  He is a second Lal Kantha , the JVP man who seeks popularity by calling strikes against the government.  

 Devasiri has his own agenda and the so called intellectual University Teachers are giving in to fulfil  Devasiri’s  personal myopic desire to be an important man, or for the benefit of an international or local political group behind him.   If FUTA is  claiming a salary increase , Devasiri will  organise another strike in six months, and another after another six months and so on.  Should the government give in each time Devasiri calls a strike of the University teachers ?

 From what I heard Devasiri said , in a TV discussion along with a JVP MP, is that the senior professors of the Universities already draw a monthly salary of Rs. 117,000.00 and a junior nearly  Rs.100,000. 00 . When are these demands for further increases going to stop.  If they continue , Sri Lanka will have to get special IMF loans to pay the University professors, who as it is contribute nothing progressive to the country but puts in peril the future of a generation of University Students.  While they fight to get increase of salaries which are already considerably high, the university Students and their parents go through immense financial difficulties.

 Some of the students who are boarders in houses in Colombo which have no proper rooms with ventilation, and where they are not allowed to use fans or plug points to boil water, charge unfair monthly rentals .  As the Universities are closed for long periods because of the Devasiri’s  call for strike by FUTA, the University students have to come to their homes to be looked after by their parents , while the parents are in addition compelled to pay the rents for the boarding houses to keep the rooms vacant until the children return  after the end of the strikes of FUTA.

 The government should make the members of FUTA who have gone on strike to pay compensation to University students who had suffered financial loss and psychological pain due to constant strikes called for by Devasiri the President of FUTA.

 Devasiri of FUTA complains that money is wasted by the government  when the president visits other countries taking with him a number of  delegates.  That is no reason for FUTA to go on strike to claim more salaries.      The University Teachers have to work hard to contribute to give the students a good education and raise the standard of University Education in Sri Lanka. What have these members of FUTA contributed to enhance the prestige of Sri Lanka Universities for the large sums they earn as salaries plus allowances.  FUTA has contributed nothing to the country  by way of  financing at least  a development project, but  brings only  shame to their profession as academicians, as no University Professors any where in the world go out on strike like bus drivers, claiming higher salaries.

 Devasiri of FUTA had said that, “.. the Higher Education Ministry and the University Grants Commission had earlier promised to solve their salary problem in three stages but that promise too had not been honoured.”  It is evident from this statement that they are a set of egoists after their own welfare what ever happens to the country or the University Students.

The people as a whole are not in favour of this unjust and unfair strikes organised by FUTA which in guise of calling for a pay hike is in reality a political moment against the Government supported by the JVP and perhaps financed by “certain interested parties” who may have paid Devasiri, and the innocent University Professors are caught in the trap laid by him.

The LTTE rump is spreading its tentacles from abroad.  We saw what had happened in Vavunia. The ways of the LTTE rump abroad are multifarious.  They can strike from any where to destabilise the government with the loads of blood money in their possession .  Who knows whether Devasiri has become another pawn of theirs or not ?   The possibility cannot be  ruled out, and it is better FUTA is investigated to see whether they have dealings with any organisation abroad.

FUTA’s two  new demands, “”¦allocation of 6% of GDP for the education sector and engagement of university teachers in the process of making decisions on the higher education sector.” are an eye wash to justify the strike which they evidently know is unfair and unjust.

 In the mean time Devasiri the President of FUTA had said,”¦. last night that an unidentified person had threatened him over the telephone to stop the FUTA strike or face the consequences.”

 Fortunately , in this threat the person had not been identified, but if Devasiri is to continue  this unfair demand for pay hikes dragging the members of FUTA with him , it may be identifiable people who will attack him, as people are fed up with the strike of University teachers.

 There is lot of suffering among the people of others sectors with loss of jobs. In the garment industry where the workers contribute to the enrichment of the Management, the workers have no welfare rights, no medical leave , right to strike or overtime, and lot of families with many children have no decent income even to feed their families while the Members of FUTA asking for pay hikes are  already getting  Lakhs of rupees as monthly salaries and  allowances.

 It is time that the public is made aware of the injustice of the strikes conducted by Devasiri  and  FUTA  and  call  the public to come out to  manifest against these unjust and unfair strikes conducted by  Devasiri as the President of the FUTA.

19 Responses to “University teachers launch strike today”

  1. mjaya Says:

    Typical JVP disruption. Shame on all academics on strike for blindly following this rascal at the expense of poor students. Academics have gone down to the level of government doctors, bus drivers and train drivers.

  2. AnuD Says:

    Universities should cancel tenure. Restructure the university degree courses and hire new lecturers who will produce results. Then incompetent lecturers will have to go. Make the universities less politicized.

    This work place sabotage because of politics should be made a thing in the past.

  3. dhane Says:

    JVP had already lost its political position in SL and in the bottom of the list same as CP & LSSP etc. Therefore only thing JVP could do today is organizing strike after strike to keep them alive. Those paid supporters carrying their banners & shouting will make a living out of these strikes. As Charles says its shame on all academics following this rascals and getting into lower level in their positions.

  4. Dham Says:

    It is the stupid proportional representation of voting created this moster.
    With 2/3 majority, Maha Raja is sleeping.
    Get up and get rid of stupid electroral, political system and create something new to get rid of unnessary trouble happening everyday.

  5. shervinw Says:

    NRD may be the president of the FUTA but he himself is not FUTA. And FUTA doesn’t care a hoot what NRD’s personal agenda or his political views are. The actions of FUTA are what the majority of its members seem fit to conduct. The university lecturers are not go on strike because they want a salary increase. Regarding the salary, its because the govt has not delivered what they have promised. And the govt had made the promise having seen that the slary issue of the universiy teachers is indeed a problem that they should address immediately. What the general public sees is a handful of students getting into the university out of the AL crowd and them getting graduated with good for nothing qualities. They don’t see that this happens because the govt refuses to spend enough on university education. At this rate, the quality of fee university education will become so low that no one will want it. A major demand of FUTA is to increase the govt spending on education. Evryone has the freedom to express openion but please refrain from blaming all srikes on JVP and the like. It looks so obviously childish.

  6. Leela Says:

    FUTA has no right to demand 6% or particular percentage of GDP be allocated to the education sector or any other sector. What percentage should be allocated to which sector is the business of the popularly elected government. If the government is in the wrong it should be defeated at elections. A small and select section of the population cannot be allowed to use student rights, teacher rights, this right and that right to bring about pandemonium to the country.

    It is obvious that Devasiri and co is on a political struggle. But we cannot let row muscle of powerful unions to destabilize the country. Since there is an election at hand, strikers can easily contest at least one of those elections and prove that they have the popular backing.

    So, I agree with the writing by Charles; “… if Devasiri is to continue this unfair demand for pay hikes dragging the members of FUTA with him, it may be identifiable people who will attack him, as people are fed up with the strike of University teachers.” Leela

  7. callistus Says:

    JVP has infiltrated the university unions including the medical school union. The members must be blind to elect these people. These guys are definitely foreign funded and the government must investigate these union activities.

  8. shervinw Says:

    Perhaps its not FUTA’s businss to demand a percentage of GDP for education. At the same time turning a blind eye to similar situations is the reason why university education IS in a mess right now. General public really have no clue as to what is being done to the university education system by their “beloved” govt. Basically every new venture in the sphere of higher education in the recent years has done nothing but deteriorate the quality of the university education. Only someone who can think and have enough foresight which is not blinded by polical issues can see the significance in the request of demanding a higher spending on university education. Politicians and sadly their puppet like policymakers do not see this. FUTA has a collective reasoninng and foresight than the entire bunch of politicians and policymakers of this country. So reasoning against a higher spending on education is simply asking to abolish free education. (free education= education freely accessible to all)

  9. sena Says:

    True. JVP is a nuisance. They are the only one at least speak against corruption and selective application of law. As usual in SL politics, others in opposition are simply waiting for their turn at the loot and mayhem.

  10. chandrasena Pandithage Says:

    අප කීමට අකමැති වුවද, කම්කරුවා යනු මෙරට සිටින පහලම ශ්‍රේණියේ ශ්‍රම දායකත්වය සපයන්නාය. මෙම කමකරු පන්තිය තම ඉල්ලීම් දිනා ගැනීම සදහා අනුගමනය කරන එක් ක්‍රියා මාර්ගයක් වන්නේ වැඩ වර්ජනය කිරීමයි. ඒ වැඩි උගත්කමක් නැති කම්කරු පන්ති ක්‍රියා මාර්ගයයි. එකල මෙරට ඉහලින්ම වැජඹුන මෙරට විශ්ව විද්‍යාල ආචාර්ය, මහාචාර්ය වරුන් මෙවන් ක්‍රියාමාර්ගයන් වෙත කිසිදා නොපෙලඹුණේ, ඔවුන්ගේ උගත් හා බුද්ධිමත් බාවය එවන් ක්‍රියා මාර්ග අනුගමනය කිරීමට තරම් පහත් තත්වයකට කඩා නොවැටුණ බැවිණී.

    අද මෙරට සිටින දිසාපාමොක් පරපුරෙහි මානසිකත්වය කම්කරු මානසිකත්වය හා සම්පාතවෙන තත්වයක පවතින බව මේ වැඩ වර්ජනය මොනවට කියාපායි. රටේ සැබෑ සංවර්ධනය වන්නේ මෙරට අනාගත පරපුර තුල ගොඩනංවන්නාවූ මානස සංවර්ධනය වන අතර, මෙවන් මානසිකත්වයක් ඇති දිසාපාමොක් පරපුරකින් අංගුලිමාලලා පරපුරක් මිස, වෙන කුමක් බලාපොරොත්තු වෙම්ද?

  11. whathal Says:

    Address academics’ concerns about future of education, universities
    The Island, July 1, 2012, 7:54 pm

    We as a group of Emeritus Professors and former members of the academic staff of Sri Lankan State universities wish to record our grave concern at the deteriorating situation in our national universities and reports of threats of violence against members of the academic community. We are shocked by the alleged death threats received by the current president of the Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA), Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri, Head of the Department of History of the University of Colombo. These threats have come after FUTA’s announcement of trade union action to be launched in the next few weeks.

    The right of academics of Sri Lankan universities to engage in trade union action on issues of wider concern in the university system has a long tradition. University trade unions have played a significant role in improving the conditions of university staff and also impacting on higher education policy. The fact that some of us engaged in trade union action has never meant that our expertise and professional contribution was not respected and valued by respective governments. We were also never subject to threats and intimidation due to trade union action.

    We have noted that the recent FUTA demands have not been limited to the personal concerns of academics, but have also been expanded to bring attention to the current crisis in the public universities due mostly to lack of funding and what seems to be entrenched political interference. There is a total disregard for the core concepts of university autonomy and academic freedom recognized in the Universities Act. We have watched the deterioration of national universities with grave concern and have sometimes raised these issues in public fora. Our concerns on previous occasions have related to current trends in militarisation, violence, intimidation and lawlessness. This violence is now being directed at university academics in order to prevent them from exercising their fundamental rights to freedom of thought and expression and freedom of association and peaceful assembly.

    We welcome efforts of the current academic community to fulfill their responsibilities and to engage in discussions on broader national issues that are also relevant to university education in Sri Lanka. We call upon His Excellency the President to ensure the personal safety of Dr. Dewasiri and his family and of all university academics including those engaged in trade union action so that they are not subject to acts of violence and intimidation. We also call upon the Minister of Higher Education and officials of the Ministry to respond meaningfully and in good faith to address the very relevant concerns that academics have expressed regarding the future of public education and universities in Sri Lanka.

    1. Prof. Arjuna Aluwihare (Medical, Peradeniya, former VC Peradeniya, former Chairman University Grants Commission)

    2. Prof. Y.R. Amarasinghe, (Political Science, Peradeniya)

    3. Prof. Herbert A. Aponso, (Medical, Peradeniya)

    4. Prof. Kumar David (Engineering, Peradeniya)

    5. I V Edirisinghe (Sociology, Colombo)

    6. Prof. Asoka Ekanayake (Dental, Peradeniya)

    7. Prof. J N O Fernando (Chemistry, OUSL)

    8. Dr. Laksiri Fernando (Political Science, Colombo)

    9. Dr. Siromi Fernando (English, Colombo)

    10. Dr. Sucharitha Gamlath (Sinhala, Jaffna and Ruhuna)

    11. R K W Goonesekere (Law, University of Ceylon, former Chancellor Peradeniya)

    12. Prof Savitri Goonesekere (Law, OUSL and Colombo, former VC Colombo)

    13. Prof. Savitri Gunatilleke, (Botany, Peradeniya)

    14. Prof. Chandra Gunewardene (Education, OUSL)

    15. Prof. J A Gunawardena (Engineering, Peradeniya)

    16. Prof. Ratna Handurukande (Classical Languages, Peradeniya)

    17. Prof. Buddhadasa Hewavitharane (Economics, Peradeniya)

    18. Prof. Laksiri Jayasuriya (Sociology, Colombo)

    19. Dr. Sirima Kiribamune (History, Peradeniya),

    20. Prof. Savitri Kumar (Chemistry, Peradeniya)

    21. Prof. Vijaya Kumar (Chemistry, Peradeniya)

    22. Prof. Lalitha Mendis (Microbiology, Colombo)

    23. Dr. Sinnaiah Maunaguru (Fine Arts, Eastern)

    24. Prof. Desmond Mallikarachchi (Philosophy, Peradeniya)

    25. Prof P.B. Meegaskumbura (Sinhala, Peradeniya)

    26. Prof Mohamed Nuhman (Tamil, Peradeniya)

    27. Prof. Gananath Obeysekere (Anthropology, Princeton University and formerly University of Ceylon)

    28. Prof. Ranjini Obeysekere (Anthropology, Princeton University and formerly University of Ceylon)

    29. Dr. Arjuna Parakrama (English, Colombo and Peradeniya)

    30. Dr Dharmasena Pathiraja (Media Studies, Colombo)

    31. Prof. Merlin Peiris (Classical Languages, Peradeniya)

    32. Prof. Ryhana Raheem (English, OUSL)

    33. Prof. M P Ranaweera (CIvil Engineering, Peradeniya)

    34. Dr. N. D. Samarawickrama (Economics, Peradeniya)

    35. Prof D C H Senarath (Civil Engineering, Moratuwa),

    36. Prof. H L Seneviratne (Anthropology, University of Virginia, and formerly University of Ceylon)

    37. Prof. H Sriyananda (Engineering, OUSL)

    38. Prof D.P M Weerakkody (Classical Languages, Peradeniya)

    39. Prof. P. D Premasiri, (Pali and Buddhist Stu dies, Peradeniya)

    40. Dr. P.V.J. Jayasekera (History, Peradeniya)

  12. whathal Says:

    Heed retired dons’ words of wisdom
    The Island, July 3, 2012, 7:44 pm

    The well reasoned appeal in ‘The Island’ of 2nd July by a group of retired university academics of state universities on the proposed TU action by FUTA is timely, appropriate and merits serious consideration by all who have the future of higher education at heart. This group includes professors emeriti, vice chancellors and even a former chairman of the UGC ! Hence one cannot dismiss it as one aimed at ‘toppling the government’!! Broken promises and unmet deadlines have soured the relationship between the country’s intelligentsia and those at the helm of affairs.

    There has not been even a semblance of common courtesy when meeting with or discussing matters with top officials of the Ministry of Higher Education by what has been reported in the media. The covert threats to the president of FUTA and his family have to be unreservedly condemned and has been done promptly by the media even editorially.

    The discerning public too would understand that the academics have more than one reason to agitate in this manner. Their concern about entrenched political interference and total disregard for concepts of university autonomy have been echoed by the retired academics as well. Only those who blindly and faithfully follow the dictates of politicians with blinkers on would think otherwise-and most likely for reasons such as perks, privileges or personal gain.

    Let us hope that the responsible authorities would respond to this appeal positively and meaningfully and do everything possible to defuse the tense and strained relations as what is at stake is the future of public education and state universities in Sri Lanka.

    N. Amarasekera

  13. whathal Says:

    Turmoil in the ‘Knowledge Hub’
    The Island, July 3, 2012, 7:41 pm

    By Dr. Laksiri Fernando

    There is an impending confrontation between the university academics and the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) as the media spokesman for the Federation of University Teachers Associations (FUTA), Dr Devaka Weerakoon, has very clearly stated that they would go ahead with their continuous strike action on 4th July as their main demands are not only about salaries but primarily on funding for the university education.

    The FUTA is asking the government to commit towards six per cent of the GDP for higher education, which is the UNESCO benchmark, as the present contribution is abysmally low as 0.4 per cent, one of the lowest in the world. This increase can be gradual, if the government can promise a substantial increase in the future, otherwise the whole system might collapse. Out of the annual budgetary expenditure, allocation for higher education is only around 1.5 per cent, whereas the expenditure on security is almost ten times.

    If the present trends continue, Sri Lanka might become a military hub, but not a knowledge hub.

    There is already a knowledge hub in Sri Lanka and that is the university system. Before making Sri Lanka a knowledge hub in Asia or in the ‘whole world,’ this existing knowledge hub should be properly maintained and managed or otherwise the whole wheel of education might collapse. There are indications that the collapse has already started. No one is against the government having lofty ambitions in any of the five hubs declared. But action should match the ambitions, and ambitions should be realistic. Mere rhetoric is not sufficient.

    Contradictory Statements

    There are three contradictory statements issued by the higher education authorities last week on the demands of the academics, particularly on the salary issue, and their intention to strike action. The first was ostensibly a modest appeal by the Committee of Vice Chancellors and Directors (CVCD), among other things, stating that “the academics have recently received substantial increases in remuneration and other benefits” without spelling out what they were and when they were granted (Colombo Page, 27 June 2012).

    Then came a statement by the Chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC) saying that “the salaries of the university academic staff will be increased by over 70 per cent with effect from October 1” (Daily News, 28 June 2012) to mean the next October.

    Now there is a new statement by the Secretary to the Ministry of Higher Education, quoting the same figures as the UGC Chairman, but claiming that salaries of academics were increased in 2011! (Colombo Page, 30 June 2012). It is also possible that some of the media are also confused as to what the authorities actually state about matters because it is difficult to separate fact from fiction.

    The following is what the FUTA says on the salary issue: “The UGC erroneously cites a few increases in allowances as salary increases and includes a research grant, which is given only until the end of this year, as a ‘salary’ increase. Further, even with the addition of these allowances to the basic salary, the current salary structure comes nowhere near the recommendations made by the Jiffry-Malik Ranasinghe committee appointed by the UGC in 2008.”

    Even if the UGC and the Ministry statements are to be believed, there are intriguing questions arising out of the salary issue. The junior and young academics are completely discriminated and overlooked under the UGC proposed formula. A senior professor will get a 74 percent increase; a senior lecturer 58 percent; and a probationary lecturer only 36 percent. While this can be a complete canard to hoodwink the public and divide the academic community, FUTA argues that all these are proposed allowances, with strings attached, and never to be implemented, judging from the past experiences. Whether this is true or not, what is apparent is the breakdown of trust between the academics and the Ministry of Higher Education.

    What FUTA has clearly asked is an increase of 20 percent of the basic salary of all grades of university academics; and not 74 percent for some and 36 percent for others. In addition they have asked for the establishment of a Sri Lanka University Academic Service and the immediate suspension of university reforms now going on without proper consultation with the stakeholders and primarily the academics. They also demand a clear government policy on the ‘free education system’ and ask for the increase of public funding for universities up to 6 percent of the GDP as mentioned before.

    Personal Agendas

    After relating credible information regarding duplicitous actions on the part of the MoHE during various negotiations, FUTA accuses the Ministry and the government of personal agendas quite detrimental to academic freedom and wellbeing of higher education in the country as follows.

    “The Ministry has withheld funds allocated to universities, and circumvented university procedures to pay for activities. The only explanation we can proffer for such blatant disregard is that the MoHE was fulfiling some personal agendas of persons in the government through these measures. The government has interfered in the areas of curriculum, the nature of student intake and in staff hires.”

    Personal agendas of the Ministry were quite obvious to the present author before his retirement in late 2010. If I may relate one or two, I was the Director of the National Centre for Advanced Studies (NCAS) under the university system instituted through a Parliamentary Ordinance when the present Minister, S. B. Dissanayake, assumed duties. He wanted me to resign from that position just two months before my term ended, quite unashamedly, without giving any reason which I refused very strongly.

    The message was sent through a ‘certain lady’ and conveyed to me by the UGC Chairman as a message. Obviously, the Minister could not do anything to remove me as my appointment was done by the UGC through due process. After my retirement, although I had made all arrangements to recruit a successor, through public advertisement, the Minister somehow appointed a person who is apparently his uncle! I have no objection to the person, but the procedure was quite illegitimate.

    During the period of the former Minister, activities of the NCAS were conducted without undue influence of the Minister although he was the Chair of the Council of Regents on policy matters. The administrative matters were handled by the Director who was also the Chair of the Council of Management with the consultation of the Council. While the previous Minister did not at all interfere with my administrative duties, the present Minister was a continuous nuisance to say the least, which I largely disregarded.

    Reasons Behind

    There are some observers who attribute rather the erratic behaviour of the Minister towards the academics to his inferior educational background although he is a university graduate. It is possible that he was appointed to the position to handle the student situation since he was a former student leader. His tactics in fact were akin to a student leader who organized, after becoming the Minister, rival factions within universities and even went to the extent of giving paramilitary training to selected government supporters reminiscent of the tactics used by the military junta in Burma before 2010. There was credible information before I left that even he was interfering with the student lists selected for university admissions.

    When he assumed duties as the Minister in May 2010 he in fact stated in Parliament that a university professor should be paid Rs 200,000. He is the very person who set the salary ball rolling perhaps initially to curry favour with the academics. Then the relations became sour when some of his own plans were not realistic or proved to be hollow rhetoric. He wanted to produce students, as he said, ‘who could see beyond the horizon.’ The University of Colombo joke says that then the students started to go to the beach every evening!

    His vision in the ministry is “to be the most cost-effective higher education in Asia” (see the website). Therefore, he is in fact ‘logical’ to get the lowest budgetary (1.5 percent) and GDP (0.4 percent) allocation to higher education compared to all other Asian countries. In comparison to 2005 he has in fact cut down the allocations to the universities. Even from the allocated funds, he is accused of running different programmes at the Ministry spending colossal amounts of money.

    He first went against the students, and then against the non-academic staff, and now he is bracing his fists against the academics. He is in fact capable of doing something nasty as he is a person who even accused the Supreme Court of its ‘Balu Teendu.’

    However, the reasons cannot simply be personally specific to the Minister or the Ministry. He is only a cog in the entire Rajapaksa machinery. Mismanagement in the educational sector had some previous roots, but has reached catastrophic proportions since recently. The entire university admissions are in a mess due to the z-score fiasco. Even after the Supreme Court decision, the system is not proceeding forward due to an apparent tug of war between the UGC and the Department of Examinations. What is apparent is the breakdown of confidence in the entire examination system. Almost half of the candidates who sat for the advanced level examination last year had asked for re-corrections and 2,725 have in fact managed to get their results upgraded. This is not a small number of errors.

    There are some who argue that the proposed university academic trade union action on the 4th July is unethical. Under normal circumstances it might be the case that university dons should not refrain from teaching or other duties. But these are unusual circumstances that require unusual measures. Without firm action on the part of the academics, the duplicity of the government and the Ministry of Higher Education might not come to a halt. The most outrageous are the ways that the defense authorities tried to intervene in the situation by threatening the President of the FUTA, Dr Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri. This alone is a reason for the university academics to protest and show the government that there are sections in society that could not be silenced through intimidation or harassment

  14. whathal Says:

    n 1970s, the first preference of a young graduate with 1st or 2nd class (Upper Division) was to join the university staff. The starting salary of an Assistant Lecturer then was Rs. 700/=. Another option available was to join the Central Bank for a salary of Rs.600/=. The salary of a Member of the Parliament then was about Rs.600/=.

  15. jay-ran Says:

    These so called academic pundits are worse vultures than the LATRINE COOLIES.They must speak to theier hearts themselves and justify whether what they do at the Universities are adequate for the INCOME THEY GET???

  16. AnuD Says:

    If this many academics have the same opinion, govt has to consider it. It is true that the govt first went behind the students, then the non-academic staff and now the academics.

    As I understand, this protest is against the defense ministry threatening by showing white vans around the house.

    Politics has made Sri Lanka a mess.

    Why retired academic make a stand and educate voters in a non-partisan way.

  17. AnuD Says:

    Govt bought out UNP politicians. Ravi karunanayake, one who did not defect, has a court case for getting millions from Raj Rajarathanm. The court case is not proceeding fast. Probably that is also caused by some political reasons.

    They tried to destroy JVP by dividing and bribing. That also did not work except for Wimal Modawansha. Now, they are targeting the JVP voter base, I suppose.

    On the other hand, complain about the lack of a strong opposition.

    So, every thing happens in Sri Lanka for the benefit of the governing party politicians.

    We idiots cheer them.

    None of the developed countries developed with this kind of corruption. That is why a complete overhaul of the system is require. We have a system. But, it is as good as the people who implement it. As those at the top are corrupt, we don’t know which part of the system is working and which part not working.

    That is why, in a way Sri Lanka is a rudderless ship or is it sailing facing a hugh rock.

  18. AnuD Says:

    I say, if the govt is trying to bring about the political stability to the country by buying out opposition politicians, by letting corrupt opposition politicians into the governing party, doing all other destructive tactics to destroy those parties which can not be subjugated and large numbers of adviser posts and ministerial portfolios etc., that is a very very inefficient method.

    Instead, the govt should have fixed policies and the vision to develop the country. Politicians should have a vision about how the future Sri Lanka look like. They should accommodate other parties to suit those visions. I don’t think except for TNA, none of the other parties are destructive to Sri Lanka. Anyway, that is a complicated issue. Govt need to find better ways to bring about political stability and not by this way.

    I think, the govt has noticed already a former politician who became an adviser to the president has quit and now he is criticizing the govt. It shows that this method did not work.

  19. nilwala Says:

    As a University teacher and a former member of the UTA (Colombo) I am extremely disappointed that FUTA has taken this step of calling out a Strike that has as its core issue a demand for salary increases.
    It was accepted policy that the UTA (Colombo) would NEVER strike for a cause that was for personal gain, and that any collective action taken by the UTA would not deprive or negatively impact on the students’ right to receive their education which we were expected to impart. This current FUTA demand has been expanded to include general policy issues – clearly in an effort to diminish the “salary demand” issue as the central problem, and to whitewash the FUTA stand. This kind of academic hypocrisy is reprehensible.
    The FUTA leadership should instead make every effort to negotiate their core issue in reasoned and reasonable manner so that they can re-establish themselves as an example of how to provide leadership in difficult situations, rather than resort to this kind of Union activity that is immature and clearly sponsored by partisan politics more than anything else, as one can discern from the manner in which this stand- off has evolved.
    That University academics do not get salaries which match those of counterparts in other professions in not just true of Sri Lanka but also of the so-called “developed world”. If money were the objective, this is not a profession to be in. No doubt salary reforms are necessary, but they must be negotiated in a reasonable, stepwise manner that bespeaks of civilized, mature and exemplary behavior.
    FUTA must act responsibly in a way that as University Teachers and Academics they can regain the moral high ground which clearly they have lost.

    Dr. Mahes Ladduwahetty
    former Professor of Zoology
    University of Colombo

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