World of Labour

India Trade Union Congress

Source: The Labour Monthly, Vol. 9, July 1927, No. 7, pp. 443-444, (689 words)
Transcriptionp: Ted Crawford
HTML Markup: Brian Reid
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2009). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

The Seventh Annual Session of the All-Indian Trade Union Congress was held at Delhi on March 12 and 13. Owing to the short notice on which it was called and the existence of a split in the trade union movement in Bengal, the number of delegates attending was less than fifty; although the number of affiliated unions had increased since the last Congress from fifty-two to fifty-seven.

Before delivering his address, the President, Rai Saheb Chandrika Prasaed, extended the hearty greetings and welcome of the Congress to Mr. S. Saklatvala, M.P., who was present. The President dealt in his address with the deplorable conditions of the working masses of India. Discussing the position of trade unionism, he said that the caste system had become rigid and was now a serious obstacle in the way of Indian advance.

Prior to Saklatvala’s visit, several leaders of the British trade union movement had been in India propagating the idea of forming an Indian Labour Party on the model of the British Labour Party. This proposal had been seriously entertained at the preceding Congress Session, but this year the proposal was severely condemned. The main objection to forming such a party was that, even if the legislatures were not a farce, the vast majority of Indian workers had no vote.

The following are some of the chief resolutions passed by the Congress:—

(1) This Congress extends its cordial welcome and greetings of Indian workers to Mr. S. Saklatvala, M.P., and takes this opportunity of thanking him publicly for his valiant fight in the cause of millions of Indian workers and peasants, and thanks the electors of North Battersea for returning him to Parliament for the purpose of carrying on a united fight for British and Indian workers.

(2) (a) This Congress puts on record its whole-hearted approval of the magnificent advance made by the people of China towards the attainment of National freedom and in pursuit of the principle of self-determination. The Congress warmly appreciates the valuable work that has been done by the trade unions and peasants’ organisations which, under the leadership of Kuomintang, have frustrated the aggressive designs of the united imperialistic powers. The Congress, while pledging its full support to the movement of liberation in China, expresses its firm conviction that the cause of Indian Nationalism and the struggle of the working classes against exploitation should profit from the example of solidarity of the Nationalist movement and the workers’ and peasants’ organisations as set by China.

2(b) This Congress vehemently protests against the action of the Indian Government in furthering the aims of imperialism by sending Indian troops to China, and calls upon the Government of India to recall all such troops.

(3) This Congress is of opinion that legislation shall immediately be passed providing for all workers working in factories, mines, tea, coffee and rubber plantations, and in all other organised trades and industries:—

(a) Adult franchise.
(b) An eight-hour day.
(c) Machinery for fixing minimum wages.
(d) Sickness and unemployment insurance.
(e) Old-age pensions and pensions for widows and orphans.
(f) Maternity benefits.
(g) Weekly payment of wages.

(4) This Congress reaffirms its old resolution protesting against the system of fines prevailing in industrial and commercial firms and railways, and requests the Government of India to pass legislation making illegal all agreements between the employers and the employed enabling the employers to make deductions on account of fines from the wages or salaries of the employed.

(5) This Congress deplores the practice of the employment of women working underground, and requests the Government to prohibit it immediately.

(6) This Congress urges that Sundays be observed as full holidays, and rules for granting leave on full pay be made for all mines in India.

(7) This Congress, views with approval the efforts which have been made by the Anglo-Russian Unity Committee to bring about unity between the International Federation of Trade Unions and Red International of Labour Unions, and expresses a hope that the international unity will soon be achieved, and regrets its inability to consider joining the international movement till such unity is achieved.