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

Bombay Mill StrikeSubscribe to Bombay Mill Strike

LABOUR-Minimum Wages for Industrial Workers

It was in 1946 that Bombay textile workers won the right to a minimum wage for the whole industry, a wage that was supposed to be related to the needs of a worker (rather, of the worker's family) and not to the capitalists so-called capacity to pay. The 1946 Award based the minimum wage on the diet recommendation of Dr Aykroyd, the then Director of the Nutrition Research Laboratories at Coonoor, which laid down a minimum daily intake of 2.600 calorics for an adult working six hours in India. Even at that time this recommendation was regarded as being too low. Given that (he League of Nations Nutrition Commission had recommended 2,400 calories the energy requirement for basic diet (i e, without work) for workers in temperate countries and 75 calories per hour of moderate work, 3,000 calories would be the requirement for eight hours of moderate work.

Labour Legislation and Working Class Movement

Sumit Guha has written a critical comment (June 26) on my paper "Labour Legislation and Working Class Movement'' (Special Number, November 1981). I had argued that the retardation in the growth of an organised working class movement in the Bombay textile industry undoubtedly had something to do with or must even chiefly be attributed to the institution of a labour officer under the 1934 Act. Guha, in his comment, contends that the trade union movement went tram strength to strength in. the latter part of the 1930s and suspects me of having swallowed uncritically the labour officers own reports'

MAHARASHTRA-The Textile Worker in the Village

"First tell us why you're here — have you only come to tell us Datta Samant is power-hungry and that we should go back to work?" Textile workers, now back in their village homes three months into the longest strike in their history, are at first suspicious. From the beginning they have heard from their more well-known village leaders only anti-strike propaganda — workers are well off anyway and are causing damage to the nation by demanding too much, etc, etc. But once they find out that these visitors, organisers with agricultural labourers and toiling peasants in a nearby village, are different, are supporters of their strike, have been distributing pamphlets showing this support, their mood changes. A lamp is brought, friends are called, a meeting is held in a small temple in this poor peasant section of a prosperous and merchant dominated village in the foothills of the Sahyadris, and the process of organising the textile workers in Shiralapeth taluka of Sangli district has begun.

Cotton-Many-Sided Pressures

The Cotton Advisory Board (CAB) had prepared the cotton balance-sheet for the 1981-82 season in October 1981. It had estimated that total availability of cotton in the season would be 9 lakh bales less than that in 1980-81 and total offtake almost the same, so that stocks at the end of the season would be lower.

Labour Legislation and Working Class Movement

In his article (Special Number, November 1981) Dick Kooiman has argued that the chief explanation for the weak and disorganized condition of the Bombay working class movement in the period 1934-37 was "the institution of the labour officer", which by appropriating the main function of the unions, prevented them from gaining strength. But even a vestigial acquaintance with the history of the Bombay workers' movement suffices to disprove this.

Teaching the Workers A Lesson

As the strike of the two-and-a-half lakh workers of the textile mills of Bombay is about to cross the 150-day mark, a series of developments in the last few days have removed any remaining doubts about the Union government's determination to make no concessions to the striking workers and to defeat the strike. About the beginning of this month there were indications that the Maharashtra government would not be averse to moves to bring about a negotiated settlement of the strike. The state Chief Minister had told journalists in Pune on May 30 that the strike could be settled if all trade unionists came together and evolved a common minimum demand for the workers, taking into account the mills' paying capacity. Three days later he disclosed in Bombay that he was hopeful of a quick end to the strike. He was, he claimed, holding informal talks with several persons connected with the strike.

LABOUR-Bombay Textile Strike What Lies Ahead

The five-month old strike in 60 mills spells out a crisis in the institutional framework of capital-labour relations in the Bombay's cotton textile industry. The persistence of the strike has surprised the employers as well as the government, who expected the strike to fizzle-out in a few weeks.

LABOUR- Bombay Textile Workers Strike-A Different View

The tradition of the textile workers of Bombay sustaining industrywide strikes over very long periods goes back to over half a century. The present strike of these workers in Bombay .shows that, whatever else may have changed, the present generation of textile workers has not lost that capability.

Strikers and Strike-Breakers-Bombay Textile Mills Strike, 1929

During the drawn-out textile strike in Bombay in 1928, in which communists for the first time played an active rote in an industrial conflict, the multiclass front teas broken as a consequence of the workers' independent action against the entrepreneurs as a class. Even before the no less dramatic strike in 1929, the communist leaders had consolidated their position, and fought at the helm of a one lakh strong organisation.

Trends in the Textile Industry and the Dilemma in Indian Cotton Textile Policy

Dilemma in Indian Cotton Textile Policy Sakti Nath Saba The distinction between the mill and the decentralised

LABOUR-New Phase in Textile Unionism

Textile unionism has been, like unionism in the railways and coal mines in India, industrial unionism, characterised by long drawn out general strikes. Today, as Bombay textile workers have entered into a seemingly indefinite strike, they do so in the context of fundamental changes which have occurred in the last 20 years in the industry; changes which could transform the nature of textile unionism. From the 1918 general strike, which covered 80 mills and involved one lakh and forty thousand workers, up to the present, Bombay textile workers have launched industrial actions which have drawn together workers from the whole industry. These strikes have thrown up different forms of organisations like the Girni Kamgar Union and the mill committees; which were formed as a result of the general strikes of 1924-25 and the six-month long struggle of 1928. These represented the coalescence of two tendencies

Textile Industry, Cotton Prices and Datta Samant

The textile labour agitation in Bombay coincides with the intense lobbying that has been going on in New Delhi over the fixation of raw cotton prices for Maharashtra for tho 1981-82 cotton year. The delay in announcing these prieos weeks after purchasing centres have opened all over the state is an index of the complex forces at work fust now.

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