ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Coal-Taking the Soft Option

It had been generally thought that the government had adopted a hostile attitude to the Bombay textile strike because the success of the strike would see control of the very large textile workforce pass from the hands of the Congress(I)-affiliated RMMS into those of Datta Samant whose militant trade unionism had already made him a special bugbear of Bombay's industrialists. However, it is now clear that the government's concerns extend beyond possible accretions to Samant's trade union empire. The Central government is apparently acutely concerned about the impact of the outcome of the Bombay textile workers' strike on the morale of trade unions and workers all over the country and has, therefore, decided to make an example of the textile strike in much the same manner as it had of the equally massive strike of employees of public sector undertakings in Bangalore in 1980 or the strike of railway workers in 1974. There is little evidence still that the opposition parties and the major trade unions have grasped the full implications of this.

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