LEFT WING TRADE UNION (1924 to 1934)

Many communist leaders were arrested prosecuted imprisoned and convicted due to the violent and long drawn of strike led by the union in 1924.  The sole representative of the Indian working class was AITUC emerged during that period.  150,555 members of 57 unions were united by 1927.  The rapid growth of trade unionism was facilitated by several factors such as

  1. Jallianwala bahg massacre in discriminated arrest and imprisonment of national leaders brutal violence repressive measure let loose by the British government, the rowlet act, satyagraha
  2. National movement, the growth of anti imperialist
  3. The phenomenal profit earned by capitalist in the face of  the falling  real wages during the post war period

The workers and peasants party sprang up by 1926 to 1927 and various local units of the parties were united into all India workers and peasants in 1928.  Many trade unions opted for a leftwing leadership after its formation which gave a left influence among the working class movement.  Large number of strikes was followed by this incident.  The man days lost 316 lakhs in 1928.  By this the communist regained the influence in the trade union field by organising the cotton mills workers of Bombay in the GIRAI KAMGAR UNION which has also called as red flags and workers of the G.I.P railway in G.I.P railwaymen’s union.  The GIRAI KAMGAR UNION had 54,000 members and G.I.P railwaymen’s union had 45,000 members.  In places like Calcutta, Ahmadabad, Bombay and Delhi the communist entrenched the trade unions.  The government had to stage one of the longest and costliest trials of the world which was called as the Meerut conspiracy case due to the influence of the communist.  The total cost of Meerut conspiracy case was 20 lakhs and it lasted for 4 ½ years.  31 ring leaders were arrested in this strike.  The movement was tried to be crushed by the Meerut trial.  Well known moderate like B.Shiva rao, V.V.Giri, N.N.Joshi, Guruswamy, Diwan Chamanlal lost their hold in several industrial centres and were also stigmatised as weak kneed moderates.  As a result of this movement 2 parties grew called as rightist and leftist by fame and ‘Geneva Amsterdam group’ and Muscovites by others.  There was a demand which was put forward by the leftist group that the AITUC should be affiliated to the third international league against imperialism.  The communist organisation was camouflaged by the pan pacific trade union secretariat which was located in Moscow.  The international federation of trade union was preferred by rightist.  They also opposed militant action especially the strike and demanded that economic issues should be concerned rather than political action by the trade union.  Contrary to this the leftist ultimate aim was to establish a socialist society and overthrow capitalism.  The leftist established the fact that in order to capture the political power the working class should resort to militant action and combine economic with political struggle.  The moderate never accepted to compromise with the communist.  24 affiliated unions came out of AITUC saying that the control and direction of “the new majority in the executive council will be fundamentally opposed to the genuine interest of the working class” and formed a separate union called the ALL INDIA TRADE UNION FEDERATION (AITUF)  Which was led under the leadership of  N.M. Joshi.  Through this the strength of AITUC lost 94,000 members of 21 unions from 9 lakhs members from 51 unions.  104 unions were registered with the total membership of 2.42 lakhs by 1930.  There were other organisations which were formed namely ALL INDIA RAILWAYMEN FEDERATION (AIRF) which was started in 1921 and again revived in 1925 after dormancy, from their AIRF drew rapidly and all railwaymen unions were affiliated to it for the time being.  THE TEXTILE LABOUR ASOCIATION (TLA) of Ahmadabad was one of the important associations which was emerged during that period.  These two associations were well known for being independent and following their own methods and policy.