By circular 890 dated June 07th the University Grants Commission has ruled that all employees who do not report to work due to trade union action be treated as no-pay absentees. http://ugc.ac.lk/policy/circulars/MainIndex/MainPage.htm.
This means that all this time striking university workers had nothing to lose.
Typically, workers on strike are paid out of union funds, receiving what is called strike pay. Strike pay is less than regular pay but gives the workers enough to get by. This way both employers and employees have incentive to come to the bargaining table.
Unions are complaining about the new circular but let us hope that the Minister Warnapala shows some leadership and enforce the rules.