Colombo (LNW): The Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) has decided in a special Board of Representatives meeting to temporarily suspend the continuous strike from April 17, 2023, and resume work. The decision was made after the Minister of Education promised to address FUTA’s concerns. FUTA also emphasises that the government’s progress will be continuously monitored and the strike will resume if the promises are not fulfilled within a reasonable time frame.
At the meeting, the BOR discussed recent correspondence with the chairman of the University Grants Commission and the Minister of Education and decided that according to these documents, sufficient action has not been taken to address FUTA’s primary concerns. It was determined that until a satisfactory conclusion is reached, the decision on the participation of university academics in the GCE Advanced Level evaluation will be deferred. FUTA recognizes the Minister of Education’s initial dedication but believes that the support of other government officials is needed to successfully implement the proposed changes.
Without a concrete plan outlining when the government intends to fulfill its promises, FUTA is hesitant to place its faith in the words of the government. The failure of the government to meet the demands of FUTA has had far-reaching effects on the quality of education, and FUTA holds the government solely responsible. The government’s response to the demands of FUTA and PTUA, as well as the government’s treatment of unions, are both undemocratic. To find a better solution, FUTA wants the government to speak to both FUTA and PTUA. Workers should be allowed to organise into unions and bargain collectively, and the government should honour these rights. The government should address the concerns of FUTA and PTUA and find a solution that benefits society as a whole.
As FUTA, we have informed the government that we will no longer tolerate the government’s failure to address the legitimate demands of the university’s academics, which has led to concerns including life threats for the FUTA leaders. We, at FUTA, strongly disapprove of such conduct and pledge to take any and all measures necessary to stop it in the future. We condemn the threatening behaviour. We advocate for a space where all people can feel comfortable sharing their ideas without fear of retaliation. We call on every Sri Lankan to stand with us in defending these ideals and fostering an atmosphere of mutual regard and tolerance.