Comrade Bala dead at 92

Tuesday, 2 September 2014 02:04 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Veteran Trade Union leader and lawyer Bala Tampoe has passed away yesterday. He was 92 years old. Phillips Balendra Tampoe was the General Secretary of the Ceylon Mercantile, Industrial and General Workers Union (CMU) in Sri Lanka. “Comrade” Bala was born on May 23, 1922 to a prominent family in Jaffna, he was educated at the prestigious Royal College Colombo. He gained a BSc degree from the newly established University of Ceylon in 1943 and the University of London in 1944. He attained prime position at the helm of the Leftist movement when he was dismissed from public service for participating in the public servants strike of 1947. Tampoe was a lecturer in Botany and Horticulture in the Department of Agriculture at the time.  He joined the CMU soon after. Tampoe served as its general secretary from February 1948 (for 66 years) and participated actively in major negotiations with the government and employers. Known for his militant challenges to the political decisions of the government of the day, Tampoe led a strike in the Colombo port that escalated into an all-island general strike in 1963.