University teachers salary issue - FUTA demands appointment of salary rectification committee this week

by Dasun Edirisinghe

University teachers, who suspended their trade union action demanding a salary hike, urged the Higher Education Ministry yesterday to appoint a committee to look into the matter, as promised, without further delay.

University teachers withdrew from the voluntary posts they held as a protest against the government’s delay in increasing their salaries and they suspended the trade union action on three promises being made by the authorities, out of which one has still not been honoured.

"Appointing a committee to find a long term solution to university teachers salaries is one of the promises given by the ministry and treasury officials, but it has yet to be appointed," President of the Federation of University Teachers Associations (FUTA) Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri told The Island.

He said that the salary hike would have to be decided before the budget and therefore the committee had to be appointed immediately.

The committee would include representatives from the Higher Education Ministry, University Grants Commission (UGC), Treasury, National Salaries and Cadre Commission and four members from the FUTA, according to the agreement.

"It must be appointed within this week," Dr. Devasiri said adding they have already reminded the ministry to do so.

According to him, the ministry has promised to rectify the anomalies in the academic allowance and the UGC has already issued a circular to pay it with effect from July 01.

He said the third promise was to cancel a circular issued by the UGC preventing university dons from resigning from the voluntary posts held by them without giving three-months notice.

"The UGC Vice Chairman issued a circular cancelling the previous one, but we are still in doubt about its validity as the UGC Chairman had issued the previous circular," Dr. Devasiri said.

Secretary to the Higher Education Ministry Dr. Sunil Jayantha Navaratne, when contacted for comment, said that they are in the process of appointing the committee.

"We will appoint it within this week," he said.

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