Non-academic workers threaten to step up trade union action

By Dasun Edirisinghe

University non-academic and administrative staff yesterday threatened to stop water supply and withdraw from security services as the government had ignored their strike which entered the third day yesterday.

President of the Inter University Trade Union Joint Committee (IUTUJC) Edward Malwattage told The Island that their executive committee would meet next week to decide on a future course of action.

He said they still allowed their members to provide uninterrupted water supply, maintain supplies to animals in farms of some universities and security services.

"We are willing to discuss the issues with the Higher Education Ministry or University Grants Commission any time, but there has been no response from the government side," Malwattage said.

He said the entire university system had been paralysed by yesterday due to their strike and all examinations postponed.

There were undergraduates in hostels and the academic staff on duty in universities and they would be in difficulty if the water supply was stopped, Malwattage warned.

IUTUJC started the all-out strike on July 27 as Minister of Higher Education and Highways Lakshman Kiriella had alleged reneged on the promises made to them. Their main demand is the rectification of anomalies as regards incentives, a pension scheme for university non-academic staff and payment of arrears of their incentives.

Malwattage said Minister Kiriella had, three months ago, promised to resolve the problem within two weeks when they met him after a protest opposite the ministry, but he had not honoured his pledge. IUTUJC comprises more than 13,000 non-academic and administrative staff in all universities.

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