Launch of the Shivan New Labour Union (SNLU)

This month (Feburary 2015) marks the establishment of the Shivan New Labour Union (SNLU), a new and unique workers union for Sri Lanka, based on British and European principles of workers’ rights.

Prasad Gunewardene from Ceylon Today reports.

A new labour union registered as ‘Shivan’ has emerged in the plantation sector led by its’ General Secretary and philanthropist Ganesh Velautham to cater to the needs of the plantation sector workers and families. This union had been established on a new concept to serve the plantation sector with membership fees for plantation workers being diverted to the benefit of the workers, while the maintenance of the labour union and its staff is done at the personal expense of Velautham, a successful Britain based entrepreneur. The union focuses more on human needs of the plantation families and Velautham has begun to fund such families to meet their basic needs.

In an interview with CeylonToday, Velautham said the present state of the estate housing, which was over 200 years old was sad to witness as some families had to share just one line room. “Living in such conditions, create family tensions and illnesses”, he claimed.

On Monday Velautham visited Hatton, where three houses were gutted in the plantation and assisted them with funds and other essentials like textiles and dry rations. “Until I visited them, none of the politicians had even gone there to see the sad plight of those innocent families” he lamented.

Velautham utilizes his own personal funds to uplift the living standards of the plantation people. He is a successful real estate entrepreneur in London.

He has already started a charity; ‘Shivan Foundation for Disabled Children” to help disabled children belonging to all communities and had opened such centres in Kandy, Matale, Panwila, Jaffna, Mullaitivu, Trincomalee, Kilinochchi, Gampola and Batticaloa with the latest centre set to be opened in Kegalle. ‘All these centres are maintained at my personal expense as a service to the people of my country irrespective of race, creed or colour’, he noted.

The SNLU General Secretary said it was time to build up national unity among all communities, to be identified as Sri Lankans, and politicians should not attempt to divide communities for political gains.

His labour union is based on British and European principles of workers’ rights after contributing Rs five million of his own funds, as well as an additional Rs 100,000 contribution to the union to pay salaries and sundry expenses of labour union staff. All funds generated by way of membership fees are diverted to the benefit of trade union members. Income from his private tea estates in Nawalapitiya and Rangala in the Kandy District is diverted to the labour union and the ‘Shivan’ Foundation for the Disabled Children.

Ceylon Today, Thursday 26 February 2015


A launch website has been created at