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Sunday, 17 June 2012

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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 Federation.

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 Socialist Party.

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.

 

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