Trade Unionist Bala Thampoe died on 1 September 2014 in Sri Lanka. He was 92. He played a major role in Sri Lanka’s labour movement for nearly seven decades.
He was a general secretary of the Ceylon Mercantile Union (CMU) for the last 65 years. He was considered as one of the most powerful private sector unions in Sri Lanka.
About Bala Thampoe
• Bala Tampoe was born in May 1922 and was a lawyer and a trade unionist in Sri Lanka
• He was educated at the prestigious Royal College Colombo and gained a BSc degree from the newly established University of Ceylon in 1943 and the University of London in 1944
• He also studied law at the Colombo Law College and became an advocate, practicing criminal law.
• He joined the Trotskyist faction of the Leftist and then underground Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) in 1941. He joined the CMU in 1948 as its general secretary and served in the capacity till he died.
• He opposed the LSSP joining the ruling coalition in the 1960s due to uncompromising leadership.
• Ceylon Mercantile Union came under the influence of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP).