Uni. non academics report sick today

UGC says solution not with them

by Dasun Edirisinghe

University non academics including administrative officers will stage a one day sick note campaign today demanding that the anomalies in their salaries be rectified.

They also threaten to stage a token strike within 14 days if the government does not give an assurance to sort out their outstanding salary issues.

President of the Inter University Trade Union Federation R. M. Chandrapala told The Island that they decided to stage this primary trade union action today as the University Grants Commission (UGC) did not respond to their earlier protests held opposite the University Grants Commission.

"All the governments have been ignoring our problem from 2006," he said adding they could not wait anymore.

Chandrapala said that past governments had cheated them and finally the present Higher Education Minister S. B. Dissanayake had promised to rectify their salary anomalies, but so far he had not honoured his promise.

The union leader maintained that the government could not run the universities without their services.

The government, he said, agreed to demands made by the university lecturers, but the UGC or the ministry did not even entertain a discussion regarding their problems.

Chandrapala said that this time they would not give up their agitation and would cripple the universities until their demands were met.

"We protested opposite the UGC on August 03 demanding a solution and our members from all over the country including the Jaffna University had participated in the protest," he said adding after the protest UGC officials promised to sort out the problem as soon as possible.

Every time, the government did not take non – academics’ problems seriously, but this time they would teach a lesson to the government, Chandrapala said.

UGC Chairman Prof. Gamini Samaranayake, when contacted by The Island for comments, said they had not been made aware of any trade union action by non academics today.

"If it is not an act of sabotage, they should give at least two weeks’ notice," he said.

Prof. Samaranayake denied allegations made by the trade unionists and said the UGC was helpless to solve their problem. It was up to the National Salaries and Cadre Commission, he said.

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