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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Historic struggle of FUTA - Sri Lanka

Heroic Colleagues of FUTA,

We have reached a decisive stage of our historic struggle although with unprecedented threats to our lives. Even at this stage, the State Media continues to undermine us with vulgar and dangerous expressions. The university authorities behave as Fascists as happened at the Open University yesterday (9th October 2012) in preventing the FUTA EXCO Members from entering the campus to discuss the Special Letter given by Dr. PB Jayasundera to Dr. Nirmal Devasiri.
This only shows how effective the CVCD- FUTA Meeting held under the patronage of Minister Basil Rajapakshe had been!!! Finally our FUTA members entered the Open University defeating Authoritarian instructions issued by the VC/DVC and the Registrar of OUSL as we at OUSL passionately defeat fascist actions!!!
While that remains the ground reality we saw with our own eyes that the Special Statements issued by the government two days ago towards resolution of our key demands are an insult to the entire academic community, trade unions, political parties, as well as the people. This is because the response to the KEY DEMAND OF 6% GDP is only a quotation from MAHINDA CHINTHANA POLICY which has now brought the Education allocation to 1.5% of the GDP for 2013.
Also we did not walk for 130 KM and later attended two funerals of IUSF student leaders to be reminded by a corrupt and normless regime that they have already solved the 6% GDP demand through this August 2012 Cabinet Memo referring to Mahinda Chinthana Policy.
Furthermore, Salary demands in line with 2008 Jiffrey-Malik Proposals addressed in 2011 are now to be implemented through a five year Mid Term Framework commencing from 2013 Budget!!!
(a), (b) and (c) only prove that the regime is in the habitual practice in underestimating the intelligence of the people and in this case the ACADEMIA.
Also proving its Mala-fide intentions, the FUTA activists in the Front Line of Action are labelled as LTTE Terrorists and Conspirators as our collective capacity to struggle for justice has inspired the entire trade union movement as well as the movement for democracy.
However, we undoubtedly remain honourable in the eyes of the people since the so called powerful regime has exhausted its vulgar tactics in silencing us. If the LTTE remained, even they wouldn’t have called us TERRORISTS!!!
Colleagues, as you know the mass media manipulated by the government has made an announcement that there will be a Joint Press Conference with FUTA tomorrow to announce the great achievement of a magnanimous regime in solving our problems. But are we in a jubilant mood concerning anything? Also have you been informed by the FUTA EXCO that we are taking part in a Press Conference with the government.
Have we given our blessings at FUTA EXCO level to any joint Press Statement? As it is, the whole country has been told today about ending of the Trade Union action tomorrow while the FUTA EXCO members are still traveling to Colombo all the way from Jaffna and other far away places to convey their official positions.
All I know is that the members are disillusioned and angry about the manner in which our main demand for 6% of the GDP has been addressed. As stated by me at the FUTA EXCO any form of acceptance of the government position will only prevent us from facing the people, including political parties and trade unions that stood by us.
Let me reiterate once again that it is more honourable to suspend the strike and go back and serve the students, rejecting the current letter on salaries issued by PBJ, resume collective agitation for 6% GDP than attending a JOINT PRESS CONFERENCE ORGANIZED BY THE GOVERNMENT to sing Hosannas to a FRIVOLOUS REGIME!!!
Wishing you great strength to remain Honorable Men and Women!!!
Media Spokesman- FUTA

Special Press Conference on Friday 12th October 2012
October 12, 2012
Dear Editors of National Newspapers and Directors of Radio and Television Stations,
The FUTA will be holding a Special Press Conference on Friday 12th October 2012 at 10.30am at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS), Open University of Sri Lanka, Nawala, Nugegoda to explain the decision to call off the three months old Trade Union Action with effect from tomorrow.
Let me also thank you for your help and strength in the context of our historic struggle in taking the message to the people that the government carries the obligation to allocate financial provisions for education in line with the UNESCO Benchmark of 6% and to ensure that universities are granted greater autonomy and freedom for academics to maximize their professional potential.
We also thank you for the manner in which you have resisted organized initiatives of those with vested interests to suppress the truth concerning our grievances.
We assure you of the support of the national academic community in your own professional struggles to restore media freedom and the democratic right to information.
Yours faithfully,

Dr. Mahim Mendis
FUTA Media Spokesman

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