100th Anniversary of the Union.

Our Trade Union dedicated for attainment of social justice
Equality Democratic Unity Independent

In late 1919 and early 1920, there were lively activities on almost all estates in and around Kandy, Matale, Hewaheta, Kelani Valley and Kurunegala – which were major planting districts then. There were parties at the Head Clerk’s and clerks’ bungalows and many estate staffs from neighboring estates were partaking . Speculations were rife then that some radical change is in the offing and all were waiting with awe for the outcome.

Hopes and aspirations of group of people are the root cause for birth of voluntary organizations. Such necessity began to enter the minds of the estates staff and came to a head when suppression and unfair labour practices began to invade administrative territory of estates.

D-day was 29th August 1920, dressed in their Sunday best, the Estates Staff began to arrive, led by their Head Clerks and by mid morning, gathering was much more than expected. For the first time in the annals of the history of estates, a meeting of the staff was held to orchestra their cause on this day and formed themselves into an association decreed as ‘ Estates Staffs Association of Ceylon’ This militant move was the first step taken by estates staffs to stand as a united body and began its long journey.


Six fold vision of the CESU

Preserve and strengthen dignity of labour , human and trade union rights and protection of environment

Uphold physical , psychological, moral , cultural and economic well being of the members

Build Alliances, forge partnerships by working concertedly among national and international Trade Unions, Civil and Public Societies and Organizations

Enhance active participation of membership to strengthen the bargaining process for conclusion of Collecting Agreements while preserving the industrial peace for betterment of the Industry.

Reject any form of racial, ethnic , religious conflicts, gender based discrimination and establish a national & international force of the working class.

Stand against waste , corruption and irregularities

CESU MIssion

Ceylon Estate Staffs' Union (CESU)

To be a Trade Union dedicated for attainment of social justice equality and democracy.

Why choose CESU?

Correct path to Succeed

Better wages and benefits

It’s proven that workers who are CESU members earn more than non-CESU workers. CESU use its collective muscle to bargain for better salaries, pensions, holidays, sick pay, overtime and more. CESU hammer out negotiations with management to get the best possible deal for you, so you don’t have to.

Personal protection

CESU have got your back. Not only we tell you your rights, we will defend your rights. If your employer treats you unfairly, you can rely on support and expert representation from CESU. Our rep is a trusted person to turn to when you’re unhappy at work or management is behaving badly.


We have an incredible network that spans all over the country, which counts over 8000 members. CESU can raise a serious issue that is getting ignored at the estate or office level, with the top management of a estate company. Often, senior management is unaware of a problem that’s going on locally.

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Ceylon Estate Staffs' Union (CESU)

CESU Core Values


CESU Core Values


CESU Core Values


CESU Core Values


Ceylon Estate Staffs' Union (CESU)




Ceylon Estate Staffs' Union (CESU)

CEYLON ESTATE STAFFS’ UNION was formed as an organization of the Estate Staff in year 1920 during the era when estates were mostly under the management of colonial masters , to win their demands and rights. This Organization was registered as a Trade Union under the Trade Unions Ordinance enforced in 1935.

During the 100 years of existence the Union has rendered great service to it’s members by securing many benefits for them including establishment of Estate Staffs’ Provident Society in year 1937 long before the Government introduced the Employees Provident Fund in 1958 and the bargaining through the process of Collective Agreements which paved way to achieve improved Terms & Conditions, welfare benefits job security, dignified working environment, welfare benefits and periodical increase in salaries and allowances etc.


Ceylon Estate Staffs' Union (CESU)

Ceylon Estate Staffs’ Union is the first to celebrate 100 years of continuous existence as a Trade Union in Sri Lanka. It was inaugurated in 1920 at a time when the staff grade employees of the Plantation Sector were badly in need of an organization to represent them and raise a voice against injustice they underwent and fight for their rights and privileges.

Our predecessors have worked tirelessly to fulfill their obligations and past and present members of the Union have reaped the results of such achievements.

Present day demands of the members have changed according to the varying needs of the day and the challenges before us are enormous. CESU is well organized under the present leadership and we are determined and committed to work with renewed strength and enthusiasm to serve our members.

Know our UNION

Coffee Blight has won! By middle of the 18th Century, all efforts to save coffee industry from a blight attack became futile as all preventive measures and curative action taken were ineffective and, one by one, coffee estates were closing down. Plantation owners and workers were in a quandary alike. Workers included the Staff as well.

James Taylor and the party have been experimenting with a medicinal bush from Chinese jungles called “TEA’ and reports are heart-warming . The trials have proved very much better results than expected and investors uncrossed their fingers and are once more getting ready to put their money in the new product.

Head Kangany is very busy, getting down his kith and kin to work in these new estates and augment his gang and enhance his ‘pence’ money collection. It is princely sum-one cent per working day from each of his workers – Dorai is now happy as he is having his men and tea is growing beautifully in virgin soil.

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CESU has been playing a leading role in many struggles of the working class and organizations of Civil Societies in Sri Lanka.

+94 112 573 948 info@cesusrilanka.org