The Federation of University Teachers Association (FUTA) pushing for a salary increase for academic staff, on Friday handed over their fresh proposals to the government suggesting a salary increases of between 30% and 50%.
“The proposals will be taken up for discussion next week with Treasury officials to resolve the issue without delay,” Higher Education Minister S.B. Dissanayake told the Sunday Times. “We will not be able to give the amounts recommended in the 2008 report, but could give a reasonable solution acceptable to all parties,” he said.
He said that the government would not allow university educational activities to be affected by prolonging a solution to the problem. “We will ensure that exams in universities or degree programmes of the students are affected,” he said.
FUTA president Nirmal Ranjth told the Sunday Times that the proposals were handed over on Friday, but there was uncertainty about the amount they would be paid or the solution offered by the government.
He said it is hoped to conduct a protest march on Tuesday from the Colombo University to the Colombo Public Library to press for a solution to their demands for a salary increase.
He said that lecturers were drawing the lowest salaries in south Asia with basic salaries for the staff being insufficient.
Their idea was to ensure that staff draw salaries similar to that of the Central Bank staff, even in two stages.
“After our members stepped down from the positions they held, the government has not been able to fill those vacancies. Our members have threatened to withdraw from A/L exam supervision, while university exams are likely to be delayed,” he said.
He added that the other impact would be that all research would be affected, while university admissions will be held up, if the strike action continues.
Meanwhile, external examination results and exams too have already been delayed. ”We expect a reasonable solution will be given to us,” he concluded.