Sri Lanka: FUTA should not get involved in party politics

“I believe FUTA should not get involved in party politics or visibly promote or support any political party,” said Indi Ruwangi Akurugoda, Senior Lecturer, Department of Public Policy, University of Ruhuna, in the recent behaviors of the Federation of University Teachers. ‘ Association (FUTA) in his letter of resignation from the association. “Recently, I have noticed that FUTA board members represent the views of a political party that promotes left-wing and fascist ideology,” she charged.

Indi Ruwangi Akurugoda

Here is the full text of the letter;

This is to inform you that I am resigning from the Union of Teachers of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Faculty of Management and Finance (FHSS and FMF) effective July 15, 2022 for the following reasons.

1. Members of the Federation of University Teachers Associations (FUTA) consist of diverse ethnic, religious, political and cultural views. Therefore, I believe that FUTA should not get involved in party politics or prominently promote or support any political party. Recently, I noticed that FUTA board members represent the views of a political party that promotes leftist and fascist ideology. I notice that the letters written to the government in power in the letterheads of FUTA represent the partial political opinions of some of the senior FUTA officials and not the common or agreed opinions of the members. Under Article 10 of the Sri Lankan Constitution, everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including the freedom to have or adopt a religion or belief of their choice. So there is no question or doubt of sticking to his personal political views. But when it comes to a union, if the leaders at the highest level get decisions and write letters on behalf of all members using FUTA letterhead, they cannot represent or reflect their own personal political views. If they want to get involved in political affairs, they can do so individually, without using the common letterhead of an organization whose members hold diverse political views. I strongly condemn this arbitrary bureaucratic and authoritarian manner of the FUTA board members. These letters do not represent the opinion of the entire FUTA membership and, on the contrary, these letters represent the personal political views of the FUTA board members. Thus, I would no longer remain a member of a Union where decisions are made without the consent of its members.

2. Although a union should unconditionally protect the professional rights of its members, most of the time FUTA is very lethargic when it comes to protecting the rights of its members. They always took to the roads to protest against the governments in power. But in the face of individual rights discrimination and harassment of its members, they are reluctant to protest. So I think it’s useless to pay dues and stay in a union unable to protect my professional rights.

3. Finally, although it failed, I want to thank you for trying to do me justice when the University administration rescinded my promotion to Grade I Lecturer. Yet, I did not got justice or none of my rights were violated by Ruhuna University administration. Unfortunately, the people involved in the violation of my rights are still members of the Union without being investigated. I don’t like being in a union with violators of my basic rights.

However, I will never give up my individual fight for justice against violators of my fundamental rights. I request that you take the necessary steps to accept this resignation and take other steps to stop deducting my membership fees.