JVP elements losing grip on university 'governance':
Work first, talks later - Minister S.B.Dissanayake
Higher Education Minister S.B. Dissanayake called on the non-academic
staff of the universities to resume duties from tomorrow as the SLFP
trade union in the universities have been negotiating with the Salaries
and Cadre Commission to sort out the salary anomalies. The strike
launched by the Inter University Non Academic Staff Federation has
hampered academic activities in all the universities to some extent.
Minister Dissanayake noted that the strike was not unjustified and added
that such issues could be solved through discussions without resorting
to strike actions. Minister Dissanayake said that he had received
information of several instances where employees had been intimidated by
trade union leaders.
Despite the assurance given, the non-academic staff still remain
adamant in their stance. They have been demanding from the Higher
Education Ministry to address their salary anomalies, among several
other issues. The Minister says there was a clear political agenda
behind the strike launched by the Inter University Non-academic Staff
According to the Minister, the JVP, the Frontline Socialist Party and
the UNP are behind this strike. The intention of the Opposition
political parties was to disrupt the education activities in the
universities and lead it to an extent of a national conflict with the
help of the certain undesirable elements in the universities. They do
attempt to drag the university lecturers and students into to the scene.
The Minister explained as to how some members of the Inter University
Students Federation attempted to sabotage the "Kavitha" Talent program
staged by the Ministry to develop creative talents among university
students. However, over 3,000 university students did participate in the
first ever reality show introduced for the students.
In a situation where the government was able to rectify 90 per cent
of salary anomalies of the non-academic staff of the universities, it is
very unfair by the Inter University Non Academic Staff Federation to
launch a strike to sort out minor salary anomalies.
The anomalies of non-academic staff have been rectified on four
occasions. Therefore minor salary anomalies could be sorted out through
discussions. The Minister is ready for discussions provided the strike
is celled off.
Minister Dissanayake said that the Ministry had already asked the
staff to return to work with effect from Monday. However, most of the
staff members are willing to report back to work whereas a section which
is politically motivated, is forcibly preventing them from returning to
work. Meanwhile the Ministry will ensure their security if any attempts
are made by certain sections to intimidate or harass those who are
returning to work. If any such attempt is made, stern action will be
taken against such persons and the Police will be deployed to ensure the
security of the employees.
Despite various attempts made by the JVP backed students' union to
disrupt the university education, the power retained by the JVP in
universities has been rapidly deteriorating during the past two years as
the Government did not allow the JVP to try and govern the universities.
It is vested in the Vice Chancellors and university teachers. All the
remaining JVP factions in universities have joined the Frontline
At present their powers have faced a severe setback. Most of the
Inter University Students Federation members have also left their union
and joined the Frontline Socialist Party.