He worked for the betterment of the upcountry estate people
~ P.V. Kandiah
The N.U.W. (National Union of Workers) was established by scholar V.K. Vallayan along with P.V. Kandiah and P. Perumal in 1965.
When Mr. Vallayan died in 1971, P.V. Kandiah was appointed the general secretary of the trade union.
Mr. Kandiah dedicated nearly 25 years of his life to the N.U.W., guiding the organization with his knowledge and experience. He had a close relationship with other trade unions including the C.W.C.
When he was a General Secretary of the N.U.W in the ’80s, he visited many countries to participate in conferences to voice the grievances of the estate Tamils.
Mr. Kandiah was popular for his oratorical skills on stage, especially at May Day rallies. He spoke about the struggles of the plantation people and their need to be educated. He knew exactly how to manage and solve their problems. Planters regarded him as a calm person who was easy to deal with.
Mr. Kandiah contested in the very first Provincial Council election in 1988 and was elected as a member of the Central Provincial Council with almost 5000 votes. Until 1994 he was involved in many construction and renovation projects, allocating money for the development of urban and estate libraries and bus stops in several areas in Nuwara Eliya.
Mr. Kandiah had the courage to speak of the plantation population and their problems. In the mid-90s, he had a consultation with Mr. Thondaman to form a special alliance for the up-country people, called India Vamsavally Makkal Perani.
Unfortunately, this could not continue due to the unfavourable political environment. Mr. Kandiah’s desire was to bring all trade unions under one roof to overcome the suffering of the plantation population.
Under his political symbol “peacock” all trade unions including the CWC contested the Provincial Council election of the late nineties. Mr. Kandiah had a vision to create an educated society in the hill country. He encouraged youngsters to give priority to education. He was general secretary of the Parent-Teacher Society of St. John Bosco’s College, Hatton in the late eighties.
He died in October 2005 after an illness of three years. The N.U.W. thus lost a trade union leader of vision and integrity.