University staff on strike

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 16 September 1998, 20:02 GMT]
Three Universities in Sri Lanka's war torn northeast were on a token strike today demanding they be paid a risk allowance to which government and public sector employees in this part of the island are entitled.

The Jaffna, Eastern and South-eastern universities were closed today as a result of the strike (the South-eastern university is a Muslim majority institution taking shape at Oluvil in the Ampara district).

The President of the Democratic Teachers Union of the Eastern University Mr.S.Varnakulasingham said that further action will be taken next week if there is no favourable reply for the Ministry of Higher Education.

He pointed out the dangerous circumstances in which he and his colleagues have to work daily in a letter sent to ministry officials today.

According to a decision taken under the United National Party government and public sector workers, including university teachers and other staff, in the north-eastern province and the Sinhala majority districts of Polannaruwa and Puttalam were entitled to receive 12.5 percent of their monthly salary as risk allowance for working in the conflict zones.

In recent years, the increasingly cash strapped PA regime has stipulated that the risk allowance be paid within the budget approved for each public or government sector. But the moneys the treasury has been able to come up with have been so limited that handing out risk allowances has become well nigh impossible in many government and public sector institutions.

The government, however, feels compelled, according to some financial analysts, to keep the risk allowance alive at least on paper for fear of losing its standing among the government and public sector employees in ten districts of the country.

Risk allowance 12.5 percent of the salary. Northeast, Polannaruwa district, Puttlalam district. government only if treasury allocates money. Financial difficulties treasury has not given money to Ministry of education. Science faculty exam did not take place.


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