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* Sri Lanka university lecturers return to work
Fri, Oct 12, 2012, 08:12 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Oct 12, Colombo: Sri Lanka's university lectures who refrained from their duties for over three months have returned to work today after the government negotiated an agreement to meet their demands.

The government has agreed to withdraw all circulars issued so far that impede the progressive work of university lecturers, a joint declaration issued by the government and the Federation of University Teachers Association (FUTA) said.

The joint statement also said that an agreement has reached to seek assistance of university senates in determining the scope of the university students' leadership programme.

Addressing a media briefing today to explain the suspension of its strike stance, Deputy Chairman of the FUTA Venerable Dambara Amila Thero said the association had decided to relinquish its strike stance temporarily based on two letters it received from the government.

However, he warned, that the union will resume the strike if the government does not adhere to its pledges.

Following the discussions FUTA had with the Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa and the Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera, the government has issued two letters on a medium term salary scale to be implemented with effect of the 2013 budget and on explaining the government's standpoint and agreement on the demands of FUTA.

The FUTA, which has been on strike since July 04, demanded among others a salary increase and an allocation of 6 percent of GDP for education.

Minister Rajapaksa addressing a media conference at his Ministry on Thursday (11) said all demands that are reasonable and affordable had been met and both sides have agreed to work on a long time basis for sustainable solutions.

Minister of Higher Education S.B. Dissanayake has said that the government agrees to allocate more funds for education. The government has also agreed to consider the university lecturers as a special professional group and to depoliticize the universities, according to the Minister.

The academics have agreed to commence grading the Advanced Level answer scripts from next week.

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