Union Strategies in the Sri Lankan Tea Plantations: Rediscovering the Movement Dimension

Janaka Biyanwila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

With the launch of export-oriented industrialisation policies in 1977, trade unions in Sri Lanka entered a new set of challenges. The state promotion of labour market deregulation and privatisation has directly undermined union strategies based on bureaucratic modes of organising worker solidarity. Nevertheless, among the gamut of union strategies are tendencies characterising what is described as social movement unionism (SMU). The SMU approach focuses on strategies of independent unions combining participatory democracy internally with structured alliances externally. This paper looks at the case of a union in the tea plantations and its potential towards developing a SMU strategic orientation. In particular, the discussion focuses on the deepening of democratic tendencies within the unions which may be capable of reinforcing the movement dimension of unions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-79
JournalThe Economic and Labour Relations Review
Volume14
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2003

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