Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Lopsided remarks of Dr.Mahim Mendis of FUTA are not in keeping with his Status as a University Lecturer.

The greater influence for the formation of a vibrant Society uniting all influencing groups such as the politicians, the professionals, the religious leaders, the doctors, the scientist, the economists, the businessmen, the workers, and the farmers, should be the intellectuals, fundamentally those who form the younger generation to be meaningful citizens. It is therefore the University Professors who have the most daunting task of being an example of this unifying force.

The University Professors are a group apart and they should not imitate the other groups. There profession is a vocation that cannot be measured with their earnings, nor should they abandon their greater responsibility of the formation of future intellectuals -the future generation of responsible citizens, holding them to ransom to engage in Trade Union action for “salary hikes”-which should not be made their rightful modus operandi.

Therefore, University professors taking to Trade Union action for pay increases only bring themselves down from the high pedestal of respect to which the people and the learned society have raised them, and fall into the category of the workers manipulated by nincompoops like Lal Kantha and his destructive political party the JVP.

A trade Union by definition is “an organization of employees formed to bargain with the employer.” It does not fit into the profession of University Professors. Because, the salary increases for University professors should be negotiated, rather than “bargained” through threats of strikes or withdrawing services to the Students-the undergraduates.

The duty of the University professors, is firstly for the students and it does not keep within the distinction and high esteem we have for them to take any action that would directly or indirectly affect adversely the students who depend on them, or they are made a part of a bargain in winning personal benefits for themselves.

Federation of University Teachers Association (FUTA) today said that the Examinations Commissioner will be officially informed this week on the academics’ withdrawal from 2011 G.C.E. A/L evaluation process. This is not at all a decision about which the University Professors-“ the academics” could be proud of.

Nowhere in the world do the University Professors withdraw their responsibility towards the students demanding salary increases. These are two different matters, demanding salary increases, should be separated, from their duty towards a generation of youth depending on them to be the intellectuals of the future.

In other countries the teachers and University professors go on strike demanding changes of education policies of the government , not demanding higher salaries. It is the other employees that go on strike, bargaining with the « employer » the resumption of their services, for the grant of higher salaries, thereby holding up administrative functions, which is different from holding as a bargaining tool the future of a generation of students by the University Professors.

The University Professors are blindly following the FUTA President Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri, who has a different concept, akin to that of Shylock in Merchant of Venice, holding the future of the student undergraduates as the bargain for the “ precious pound of flesh.”- an increase of salaries.

It is time that the Senior University Professors come alive to seriousness of the situation that Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri, has brought them into and react to take a wiser decision to break the strained situation.

Dr.Mahim Mendis of the Federation of University Teachers Association had said that the country's political leadership has failed to note the difference between the Ministry Officials and University Lecturers.

This Dr.Mahem Mendis is probably a young man more influenced by Lala Kantha an inveterate Trade Unionists trained in the art of misleading workers to strike against employers. Mahim Mendis had said that, « …. the country is led by unwise leaders. it is due to this reason that they have not yet received a solution to their salary crisis.»
Mahim Mendis should know that there is a wide disparity between good University Lecturers and Ministry Employees. The Ministry Officials cannot be considered as less important than the University Professors.

In Ministry Employees taking to Trade Union action against the government, they hold up the administrative functions, but a University Lecturers going on Trade Union action hold up the intellectual progress of men and women., which is a crime as it is the life and future of the young graduates that are being bargained in return for a handsome salary increase.

If Dr.Mahim Mendis cannot wake up to this reality he should be sent to follow a course in psychotherapy, to think differently as a responsible intellectual. Mahim Mendis’s contention that the country is led by unwise leaders and it is due to that they have still not received a solution for their salary crisis, is again based on his immaturity.

The Government is today faced with a more “serious crisis” with more powerful players planning to stop the progress and the development of the country and if possible to divide it. Therefore, the government has to give all its attention to defend itself against these foreign forces before looking into other problems.

The Government is not neglecting the University lecturers. They were given a salary increase of some 36 percent not so long ago, and therefore the government had asked them to give a little more time to consider further salary increases. And very rightly a Deputy Minister had stated that the solution to the problem should be found not by Union action but by negotiations. In the light of that statement, who is acting unwisely Mahim Mendis, the government or the University Lecturers ?

Salary increases are of course a necessity in a period when cost of living is in the increase, but there are many factors that have to be taken into consideration when salary increase are granted to satisfy employees on strike, as it would result in a chain of strikes by other employees of other sectors and the government will go bankrupt by giving into all such demands. It is simple as that, not very difficult for a wise University lecturer to understand.

Salary increase by itself does not reduce the cost of living as a University Lecturer like Mahim Mendis should know. There are other factors that come into play in the reduction of cost of living.

The FUTA action appears to be not so much for a salary increase but a means to embarrass the government and add further difficulties, perhaps encouraged by certain interested parties who want to blame the President and his government, or it is a question of “hammering the iron when it is hot”.

Mahim Mendis should be sent back to the University to learn to think better and wisely instead of allowing to make lopsided statements and mislead the other professors on his misguided concept of Trade Union action for salary increase.

It is an accepted fact that when the Medical Profession takes to Trade Union action it always leaves behind a skeleton staff to continue the work of the hospitals and other institutions that require urgent attention. Likewise, it may have been more creditable for the profession of University Professors to allow normal lectures an important tasks such as evaluation of A Level Paper marking to continue while others who have “less important work” to strike.

Dr. Mahim Mendis and Dr.Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri seem to have less work to do and their going on Trade Union action is perhaps pardonable.

Mahim Mendis seems to be having his head a bit too swollen with the University degrees he seems to have “collected” in saying that, « … university lecturers are not being given their rightful place due to those who rule the country not having had a university education. ». That is a rather pompous assertion, down grading others for lack of higher education.

It is normally the headstrong, emotional, unwise people who consider it a loss of face to abandon an action to reconsider other means to obtain their demands. The University Professors belong to the other category, the responsible, respectable and wise, therefore they should consider other more respectable and a subtle means of making their demands.It would have better results than a headlong confrontation with the “unwise” government officials.

Dr.Mahim Mendis, it is also the intelligent and the wise who consider it not a loss of face to give up when the situation is tense and seems without a solution, to step down to find other means of action.

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