Unemployed graduates organise fresh protests across country from March 12

by Dasun Edirisinghe

Unemployed graduates who were attacked by the police in Colombo while they were marching towards the Prime Minister’s Office demanding jobs two weeks ago will launch a fresh protest with bhikkhu associations, teacher trade unions, undergraduates, fisher and farmer societies and parents in main towns of the country.

Convener of the Combined Association of Unemployed Graduates (CAUG) Dhammika Munasinghe told The Island that they wanted 32,000 vacancies in the public sector filled with graduates, but the government was totally silent on the matter.

"We wrote a letter requesting a discussion with the President, the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister on Monday, but there had been no response from the government so far."

Munasinghe said the government had admitted that 32,000 vacancies existed in the public sector, but it has failed to provide jobs for 25,000 unemployed undergraduates.

The government attacked the unemployed graduates’ protest with tear gas and water canon and arrested two female protesters who had been searching for Munasinghe said. They were enlarged on bail.

The case was taken up before the Magistrate on Tuesday and was postponed to April 01.

Munasinghe said they would hold protests in Kurunegala on March 12, in Kegalle on March 13, in Matara on March 19, in Kandy on March 20, on Kalutara on March 27 and in Badulla on March 28.

Munasinghe said they would also stage demonstrations in Batticaloa and Jaffna.

Meanwhile, JVP led Graduate Employees’ Union (GEU) has written to President Maithripala Sirisena, urging him to fill the teacher vacancies in the countrywide schools with the unemployed graduates.

GEU Convener Chandana Sooriyarachchi said there were 15,000 teacher vacancies in government schools.

"Gratuates passing out of the Sri Lankan universities have not been recruited on a proper scheme since March 30, 2011," he said, adding that some provincial education ministers had recruited those who had passed GCE A/L as teachers though there were thousands of graduates who had ben waiting for jobs at home for years.

Sooriyarachchi said they did not ask the government not to provide jobs to GCE A/L qualified youth but priority should have been given to graduates in public sector recruitments.

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