In this article, we will discuss Emergence and Formation of Trade Unions in India (Part-1). So, let’s get started.
Emergence and Growth of Trade Unions:
- Cause of Emergence: The trade unions emerged in India after World War I. The main factors that led to the emergence of trade unions include:
- Rising prices of essential commodities.
- Decline in the real wages of workers.
- Increase in the demand for the industrial products resulting in the expansion of Indian industries.
- Gandhi’s call for the Non-Cooperation Movement.
- The Russian Revolution.
Formation of Trade Unions:
- The Madras Labour Union, formed in April 1918, is generally considered to be the first trade union in India.
- B.P. Wadia, a nationalist leader and an associate of Annie Besant, was instrumental for its organisation.
- The Textile Labour Association, also known as Majur Mahajan Sangh, was established in Ahmedabad in 1920.
- The union was formed following the agitation of mill workers of Ahmedabad demanding for a bonus to compensate for the rise in prices.
- This union worked along Gandhian lines and became very strong over the years.
All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC):
- A New Edge to the Workers’ Movement: The most important development in the workers’ movement was the formation of All-India Trade Union Congress under the leadership of Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Lala Lajpat Rai.
- Since then the working class movement became strong and by 1930 onwards, an ideological tone was added to the movement.
- Cause of Formation: Many people connected with labour realised that there was a need for a central organisation of labour to coordinate the works of the trade unions all over India.
- The formation of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in 1919 acted as a catalyst for it.
- The members selected from AITUC represented the Indian Labour at the ILO.
- Leaders Involved: Bal Gangadhar Tilak, N.M.Joshi, B.P.Wadia, Diwan Chamanlall, Lala Lajpat Rai and Joseph Baptista were the main leaders behind the formation of AITUC.
- Lala Lajpat Rai became the first president of the AITUC and Joseph Baptista its vice president.
- Lajpat Rai was the first to link capitalism with imperialism: “imperialism and militarism are the twin children of capitalism”.
- Ideology of AITUC: In the beginning, the AITUC was influenced by social democratic ideas of the British Labour Party.
- The Gandhian philosophy of non-violence, trusteeship and class-collaboration had great influence on AITUC.