University dons to suspend voluntary
services if promised pay hike not given

by Saman Indrajith and Lal Gunasekera

University teachers yesterday threatened to suspend voluntary services on August 10 if the government fails to grant them the 25 percent increment in their academic allowance as promised prior to the presidential election.

President of the Federation of University Teachers’ Associations  (FUTA) Prof. Sampath Amaratunge told The Island that their decision had been conveyed to the authorities including the University Grants Commission and the Ministry of Higher Education.

FUTA President said that Tuesday’s token strike had been a success.

According the FUTA decision, the teachers will resign from the posts such as department head, university proctor, assistant proctor, chief student counsellor and warden if the government does not meet their demand by August 10.

Commenting on a UGC circular, issued yesterday, directing all vice chancellors to place all dons who took part in Tuesday’s token strike on no-pay leave, Prof Amaratunge said that it was a very big joke.

"The same person who promised us a 25 per cent increase in our academic allowance before the presidential election has issued a letter instructing we be placed on no-pay leave, Prof. Amaratunge said.

All university teachers including those serving in the North and East struck work and walked picket lines on Tuesday at their respective universities.

Secretary of the FUTA Dr. Rohan Fernando said that 4,738 academics had participated in the union action.

He said that yesterday’s letter signed by the UGC chairman to deduct one day’s pay from the salaries of the lecturers who participated in the token strike had not been approved by the Higher Education Minister S. B. Dissanayake.

The FUTA, he said, wished that President Mahinda Rajapaksa would intervene in this matter and sort out the problem without letting it develop into a crisis in the higher education sector.

UGC Chairman Prof. Gamini Samaranayake refused to comment on the issue.

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