Statement by the Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) on the Temporary Suspension of Continuous Strike Action
The Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) has decided to temporarily suspend the current form of strike action undertaken by its members and explore alternative forms of protest that will allow for long-term engagement with the people’s struggle. The decision to suspend the current form of strike action was reached at a meeting of the Board of Representatives held on 13th May 2022. University academics will resume their involvement in teaching-learning activities primarily to avoid the further stagnation of university students’ education. However, we categorically state that this suspension of strike action is not in any way a condoning of the current undemocratic management of the country’s political and economic crises.
The continuous strike action was declared on 10th May 2022 to protest the gross violations of citizens’ rights that were carried out by state-sponsored parties when the MainaGoGama and GotaGoGama (Colombo) protest sites were attacked without provocation. FUTA demanded that an explanation be offered regarding why government resources were utilized to host the attackers at Temple trees prior to the attacks on the protest sites; that swift legal action be taken against those who had instigated and carried out the attacks on the peaceful protestors; that the President of the country and the Inspector General of Police resign immediately in view of their failure to prevent this violence; and that an impartial investigation be carried out to look into the conduct of the Police and the armed forces during this incident. We note with strong displeasure that none of the concerns raised have been addressed so far. However, FUTA remains committed to demanding justice and accountability regarding these incidents of unprovoked violence and state capture.
FUTA reiterates its demand that the President heed the wishes of the people and resign. We strongly condemn his undemocratic exercise of power and his blatant disregard for the people’s demands. We remain committed to supporting the people’s struggle through alternative means of engagement.
FUTA will continue to engage with other trade unions and like-minded groups to ensure the success of the people’s struggle. We recognize the need for long-term engagement and are committed to exploring alternate ways of resisting further attempts to delegitimize the people’s demands.
Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA)