The Gandhian Theory

Trade unionism and collective bargaining has proven to be a trouble when it comes to economies which undergo the early phases of industrialisation. Mahatma Gandhi’s views regarding the role od trade union were contrary to Karl Marx’s Theory. One of the main advises which Gandhi gave was that the workers to be organise themselves because if they properly organise themselves they would have more wealth and resources through their labour than the capitalist through their money. He said that the trade unions should be a place where the workers should turn as good citizens and that they should also be able to defend themselves from the assaults which come from outside. Marx believed in class-struggle. Class-struggle is a tension or a conflict between the owning and the non-owning class. Gandhi completely ruled out class-struggle. Gandhiji’s views on industrial relations are based on his own fundamental principles of idealism ,they are:faith in individual , purity of means, importance of bread labour, economic equality , trusteeship and the removal of the evils of individualism. He propagated that trade unions should be a moral institution where a labour can improve their behaviour, uphold their dignity, follow the trusteeship ideals, and also the Principles of equality and equity.

Ahmedabad textile labour association :

This was started by Anasuya Sarabhai and was mentored by Gandhi.It was one of the first labour unions. It was developed based on the principles of Gandhi such as non-violence , pure and simple. The Ahmedabad textile workers started the history of national trade union movement in India. It was a struggle of the working class to achieve their demands. The workers went for a strike on February 22nd 1918, under the leadership of Gandhi.It took place in the bank of  Sabarmati river in Ahmedabad where Gandhi used to address the workers under the shadow of a babul tree. The strike was a success as they got their 35% increase in wage and it was secured. The full strike was so peaceful and was conducted in a non-violent manner. Since then the association has been very successful. It has its own hospital, school for the children for the mill-hands, printing press, khadi depots and also its own residential quarters. The association has a credit of very successful strikes which were fully non-violent. Thus basically the Gandhian theory of trade unionism is just a reflection of his own ideologies