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Bala Tampoe's Funeral tomorrow.

Colombo, Sept. 4 -- The funeral of Bala Tampoe is to be held tomorrow at the Borella cemetery.

Bala Tampoe a nonagenarian, he is one of the great figureheads of the Sri Lankan labor movement, and was the general secretary of Ceylon Mercantile Union (CMU) passed away at a private hospital in Colombo on 1 September after a brief period of illness. He was 92 years old.

An advocate of criminal law, Bala Tampoe became General Secretary of the CMU in February 1948.

His leadership in the trade union activities spans well over 65 years, and under his leadership the CMU became one of the country's largest trade unions in the commercial sector.

Bala Tampoe led a strike in the Colombo port in 1963. The struggle escalated into an all-island general strike and defied the government when it invoked its emergency powers.

Until his death Bala Tampoe retained the position as General Secretary and participated actively in major negotiations with the government and employers. During the past years he worked to get the Workers Charter implemented, as well as trying to get the unions to join forces and make the government of Sri Lanka ratify ILO Conventions 87 and 98.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa paid his last respects today to the remains of Bala Tampoe.

Earlier President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his message said, "With the passing away of Bala Tampoe Sri Lanka has lost a son of great talent, capability and commitment to the progress of the working people as well as a brave fighter against colonial rule and for the establishment of a strong pro-people democracy," in this country."

In a condolence message to the family members of Mr Bala Tampoe, President Rajapaksa extended his heartfelt condolences. Describing Mr Bala Tampoe as a great trade union leader and champion of the working people of Sri Lanka.

President stated, "I share my sorrow at his loss with all in the Trade Union Movement and the people of Sri Lanka."

Even at the 63rd anniversary of the SLFP meeting held at Badulla on the 2nd September, the ruling party remembered the veteran trade union leader and all those participants in the meeting, nearly 30,000 observed two minutes silence and paid their respect.

Linus Jayatilake, President of the United Federation of Labour, and friend says:

"Comrade Bala leaves the CMU and the working-class at a moment of the emerging crisis of the neo-liberal capitalist system on a world scale. But the rich memories of his militancy and the class intransigence will be his sole contribution to the working class; to confront the collapse of this system."

"His Marxist and left learnings led him to remain steadfast in the independence of the working-class against all forms of class-collaborationist politics."

Editor's Note: I have been personally associated with this veteran Trade Union leader Mr. Bala Tampoe. I extend my heartfelt condolence to the family members of this great and courageous leader, who is no more with us - a void which cannot be filled

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Asian Tribune.

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Publication:Asian Tribune (India)
Geographic Code:9SRIL
Date:Sep 4, 2014
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