The Movement of the Working Class


III.Early Efforts#early nationalists, especially the Moderates,

  1. a) were indifferent to the labour’s cause;
  2. b) differentiated between the labour in the Indian owned factories and those in the British-owned factories;
  3. c) believed that labour legislations would affect the competitive edge enjoyed by the Indian owned industries;
  4. d) did not want a division in the movement on the basis of classes;
  5. e) did not support the Factory Acts of 1881 and 1891 for these reasons.

1870 Sasipada Banerjea started a workingmen’s club and newspaper Bharat Shramjeevi. + 1878 Sorabjee Shapoorji Bengalee tried to get a bill, providing better working conditions to labour,passed in the Bombay Legislative Council. 1880 Narain Meghajee Lokhanday started the newspaper Deenbandhu and set up the Bombay Mill and Millhands Association.

1899 The first strike by the Great Indian Peninsular Railways took place, and it got widespread

support. Tilak’s Kesari and Maharatta had been campaigning for the strike for months. During Swadeshi Upsurge-Workers participated in wider political issues. During the First World War and After

The AITUC-The All India Trade Union Congress was founded on October 31, 1920. Lajpat Rai was the first to link capitalism with imperialism- “imperialism and militarism are the twin children of capitalism”. The Trade Union Act,

1926-The Trade Union Act, 1926 a) recognised trade unions as legal associations; b) laid down conditions for registration and regulation of trade union activities; c) secured immunity, both civil and criminal, for trade unions from prosecution for legitimate activities, but put some restrictions on their political activities.

Late 1920s-The TDA, 1929 a) made compulsory the appointment of Courts of Inquiry and Consultation Boards for settling

industrial disputes; b) made illegal the strikes in public utility services like posts, railways, water and electricity, unless each individual worker planning to go on strike gave an advance notice of one month to the administration; c) forbade trade union activity of coercive or purely political nature and even sympathetic strikes.

# Meerut Conspiracy Case (1929) + Under Congress Ministries-During the 1937 elections, the AITUC had supported the Congress candidates. During and After the Second World War-Initially, the workers opposed the War but after 1941 when Russia joined the war on behalf of the Allies After Independence-The working class movement got polarised on the basis of political ideologies

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