Ceylon Bank Employees’ Union (CBEU) is the single largest politically independent trade union operating across the banking sector of Sri Lanka
The trade union movement of Sri Lanka rose as a result of the suppression of the colonial employers and later developed as a major part of the political struggle of the country to gain independence. At that time there were only foreign banks in operation.
As a direct result of the mistreating of the colonial employers aggravated by the stiff social and economic conditions created after World War II, bank clerks considered to be white collar employees felt the requirement of being organized as a union. They were guided by Comrade A E Gunasinghe, arguably considered as the ‘father of Sri Lankan trade unionism’ and under his patronage “Bank Clerks’ Union” was founded in 1943. This Union was then registered under the Trade Unions Ordinance No. 14 of 1935 on 01/09/1944 under the same name and the registration number allocated was 160.
Legendary Comrade A E Gunasinghe, the founder President of the Union held the Office until 1954. Opening the Membership opportunity all bankers of the country far and wide, irrespective of grade/designation differences, the name “Bank Clerks’ Union” was changed to “Ceylon Bank Employees’ Union”, by way of a resolution passed at the Annual General Meeting of the Union held on 26/1/1956 and this name was registered on 26/3/1956. Due to a failure to meet some compliance requirements of the Trade Unions Ordinance, The Registrar of Trade Unions cancelled CBEU’s registration as a Trade Union on 15/9/1958. However, under the provisions of the section 9 of the above referred Ordinance, CBEU was re-registered as a Trade Union and the registration number given on this occasion was 1151. With the establishment of State owned banks, CBEU membership was extended to them as well. Since then, we continue to journey in accomplishing our objectives against all odds.
The Roberts Bank Award:- The 1st ever salary scheme awarded for bank clerks by an independent tribunal by Commissioner Mr. T W Roberts, in his capacity as the Arbitrator who was appointed to resolve the above trade union action. Mr. Roberts created two grades for Bank Clerks and gave his findings on certain other matters referred to him.
Comrade A E Gunasena stepped down as the President of the Union to take his new position as the Sri Lankan Ambassador to Indonesia. Comrade W K Wijemanna, a lawyer was appointed as the new president.
@ Ceylon Bank Employees Union.
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