Sri Lanka: Trades Unions Material

Scope and Content

Reports, rules and regulations, manifestos, resolutions, statements, constitutions and addresses issued by the All Ceylon United Workers Congress, the Ceylon Bank Employees' Union, the Ceylon Federation of Labour, the Ceylon Workers' Congress and the Government Clerical Service Union.

Administrative / Biographical History

Sri Lanka had been traditionally highly unionised, particularly in the state sector, and the majority of the materials held here date from the period in the 1970s when the influence of organised labour was at its highest. Most of the items originate from umbrella organisations like the Ceylon Workers' Congress (CWC), whose relative militancy prior to 1977 and subsequent support for the United National Party government that came to power that year epitomises the ebbing of union power in the 1980s. Some of the material found here relates to the struggle for worker's rights in the most turbulent sector of the island's economy, tea production.


Alphabetically by union, then in rough chronological order

Access Information

Open to all for research purposes; access is free for anyone in higher education

Acquisition Information

Institute of Commonwealth Studies

Other Finding Aids

Records at item level on library catalogue (SASCAT)

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Daniel Millum, Political Archives Project Officer at the Institutes of Commonwealth and Latin American Studies.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies can usually be obtained - apply to library staff.

Custodial History

The Commonwealth Political Parties Materials collection was begun in 1960-61, with special emphasis being placed then, as now, on 'primary material such as party constitutions, policy statements, convention reports and election manifestos.' (ICS, Twelfth Annual Report 1960-1961). Since then, the main method of gathering material has been to appeal directly to political parties throughout the Commonwealth, though contributions from Institute members and staff following visits to relevant countries have been significant.


No further accruals are expected at present.

Related Material

See also Sri Lanka: Political Parties Material (PP.CE) and Sri Lanka: Pressure Groups Material (PG.CE), as well as Political Party, Trades Unions and Pressure Group Materials for other Commonwealth countries and related material in the library's main classified sequence, all held at the ICS.

Geographical Names