HIND MAZDOOR SABHA Babar Road New Delhi Delhi India Phone Number: + Email Id – [email protected] Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), third largest trade-union federation in India after the All-India Trade Union Congress and the Indian National Trade Union. The Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS) is a National Trade Union Centre in India. It The Hind Mazdoor Sabha was intended to be a third force in Indian trade.
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Of course for the labour movement, six decades are not too long a way and in that sense we have miles to go still.
However, it is a matter of accomplishment for a national trade union center to have survived and grown without being a part of the political parties in a country like India where virtually every other central trade union organization is part of some political party or the other. From about 6 lakhs membership in nazdoor over 55 lakhs and still growing, is no mean achievement. But the times ahead are tough. As we move ahead, we need to stop and think – how do we build upon what we have?
How do we face the challenges of the 21st century? India, as we hhind, is undergoing significant politico-economic changes, led by the forces of economic liberalisation and globalisation. These changes are posing serious challenges to the trade union movement. At stake are hard won trade union rights of the workers.
The role of State in India is undergoing major changes. What then should be the role of trade unions mzzdoor this changing scenario? The time has come to sift from experience and draw from it the lessons for the future.
This process needs to begin from looking back at the history of our own organisation, factors responsible sabh its growth as well as our misjudgments that prevented us from growing as much as we should have. Most importantly, to assess how far the organisation has been able to follow up on its goals and the ideals for which it was sabhq.
It may be remembered that inapart from M. This was a period of much turmoil as well as many hopes for the future of free India. This post 2nd World War period in India was marked by acute shortages, rising prices and spiraling unemployment.
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There was much turbulence in the industrial relations scene as workers were facing many hardships. As many as 16 million mandays were lost due to strikes in as discontent among the workers grew. Mere militancy dictated by the needs of the communist party as reflected by AITUC at that time or sub-servience to the government as reflected by INTUC was not meeting the needs of the workers.
The socialists felt that the trade union movement could not be tied down to the needs of the political parties but must follow policies only in the interests of the Indian workers. This necessitated both cooperation with the development efforts of the country as also constructive opposition to the anti-labour, anti-employment policies of the government and the employers.
HMS was founded in Calcutta during the trade union conference from 24th to 26th December Subhash Chandra Bose and leading independent trade unions at that time. Over trade union leaders participated, representing unions and a membership of over workers.
Sinha while Textile workers were represented by R. Ruikar, Anthony Pillai and P.
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Although HMS as an organisation was new, the men and women who founded it were veterans of the Indian trade union movement, most of who had been instrumental in the formation and growth of AITUC earlier. The Founding Conference elected Com.
Ruikar as the first President, Com. Ashok Mehta as the General Secretary and Com. Maniben Kara and Com. Khedgikar as the Treasurer. Aruna Asaf Ali, V. Karnik, Dinkar Desai, N. Chinnadurai, Peter Alwares, A. Bora and Basawan Singh. The formation of HMS represented the emergence of a new force in Indian trade union movement – that of unionists who believed in free, independent and democratic trade unionism. It represented independence of trade unions from the control of Government, Employers and Political Parties.
The history of HMS reflects the politico-socio-economic currents in the country and the reactions of the different union leaders and constituent unions to these developments. Although HMS is philosophically and organizationally independent of the political parties, the diversity of political opinion often caused conflicts and pulls and pressures from different sides especially from the Socialist and the Congress partyshaping in the process the history of HMS. In the s, it was the developments splits in the Socialist Party that always had repercussions on HMS.
The decision of the Socialist Party in at the Patna Conference to widen its base and open its membership to different people and organizations which had faith in socialist principles and peaceful and democratic means for achieving the goals democratic socialism was not acceptable to a group led by Mrs. Aruna Asaf Ali, who left the party in and later joined the Communist Party. The membership fell in not only because some leaders like Mrs.
Aruna Asaf Ali and Com. InHMS decided for organizational reasons to do away with those unions which were not functional in active sense and were not paying their membership dues to HMS.
Gulzari Lal Nanda, the Minister for Labour and Rehabilitation – a very sincere man who genuinely wanted the well being of the workers and commanded much respect of the union leaders. During the s, HMS faced a number of struggles and carried out many nationwide campaigns. Important among these are. The strike involved over workers and lasted for 63 days leading to the acceptance of payment of bonus as deferred wage. Over workers participated in the strike led by Com. Mahesh Desai had to face murder trial concocted by the authorities in collusion with the Employers but the charges were dropped after about 3 years under sustained campaign of HMS and its unions in a campaign led by Jayaprakash Narayan.
The whole of the trade union movement was against these black labour laws, which were finally dropped by the government. This period witnessed a number of other strikes and struggles over issues such as wages and recognition of HMS Unions. The policy of the government in the s which continued even later was to promote and foist INTUC unions all over, irrespective of which union the workers wanted.
This led to a number of conflicts in different parts of the country and repeatedly such as in Rohtas Industries in Dalmianagar, in Chotanagpur coal fields, Jharia Mines, Basudeopur collieries, Ramgarh Power house, lodna collieries, various centrally owned and princely State – owned Railways, etc.
HMS also embarked on a number of positive and constructive campaigns during this period for giving voice to the demands of the people in regard to employment and protection of purchasing power. From time to time Anti-Unemployment Day was observed as also Union Shop day, issues such as Civic rights of the people, scrapping of Essential Services Maintenance Act ESMAimprovements in public distribution system, self reliance, social security, health care and poverty alleviation policies often figured in these HMS campaigns.
During this period a firm foundation for the organisation was laid. This was also the period where some landmark policy decisions were arrived at in the tripartite bodies such as in the Indian Labour Conferenceswhich set the tone for struggles and campaigns for the next two decades.
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Bagaram Tulpule took up the challenge of putting the HMS house in order as per the decision of the conference. He undertook extensive tours of various states and helped revive the State Councils where fresh elections were held, records upgraded and communications hhind the State body and the affiliates as also with the central office were improved.
The administrative procedures in the central office were streamlined, meticulous records were maintained, membership figures were updated and accounts closely checked. Letters were promptly replied and detailed reports were prepared for the working committee meetings and the annual conventions.
Extensive studies of labour problems were made by Com. Bagaram and his colleagues. On behalf of HMS, detailed written submissions were made to the government and the tripartite bodies. In all 7 Indian Labour Conferences ILCs were held during this period and many important decisions were taken and agreements arrived at. HMS leaders contributed constructively in these conferences and helped to bring about consensus on a number of issues.
Notable among these were. The experience of HMS and other unions in later years was that most of the above mentioned agreements were violated by the government and the employers when it came to honoring their side of the bargain. The code of discipline was often used only to prevent a strike action by the union while refusing or delaying the collective bargaining or preventing voluntary arbitration. The Government also refused to recognize the trade union rights of the government employees and also backed out of its commitment to need based minimum wage.
The 6th Annual Convention of HMS in Bangalore in October took note of all these developments and the delegates emphasized on the need to plan out some programme of action on the outstanding problems. The plan of action that was prepared and put before the delegates by Com. Anthony Pillai included – observing a nationwide token strike of one day on the date to be decided by the working committee after the convention. The working committee which met in January decided that in order to make the nationwide strike action more effective, other Central Trade Union Organizations CTUOs should also be contacted to make this a joint action.
Except for INTUC, everybody agreed that a nationwide protest action was needed but the meeting decided on first observing a Demands day in all states to prepare for the all India Strike. The Demands Day was observed in all states but the nationwide strike could not be held. This was not only because not much enthusiasm was shown by the other CTUOs but also because many affiliated unions of HMS were busy with their own struggles and strikes during this period such as prolonged strike of cotton textile workers in Madras, day strike of Premier Automobiles in Bombay and Dock workers strike.
George Fernandes, who was treasurer of HMS at the time.
This group demanded resignation of the President and the General Secretary, which was not supported by the majority of the working committee. This led to Mr. Sane another member of the working committee. However, the real reason for the splitting of Com. George Fernandes is to be found in the politics of the PSP Praja Socialist Party in which there were two groups – one sahba by Ashok Mehta, who advocated cooperation with Congress on the thesis of compulsions of a backward economy and the other led by Dr.
Ram Manohar Mazvoor who was extremely critical of Pt.
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Nehru and Nehru led Congress. Within HMS, both groups held the leadership positions Com. The sabhha of Com. The failure to carry out the decision of the Bangalore Conference provided an opportunity to some of the Lohia Group followers like George Fernandes to leave HMS in This split also weakened HMS as an organization at that time.
It was against this background that took place the historic strike of central government employees prominent amongst whom were Railwaymen led by AIRF, from 11th July to 16th July The immediate cause for the government employees strike was the recommendations of the 2nd Pay Commission appointed in which had not given any meaningful rise in wages to the government employees even as their purchasing powers were declining due to ever increasing prices.
Government refused to negotiate with the Federations of the government employees for improvements in the recommendations and the compensation package. As a consequence the disappointed central government employees went on strike. The strike was extensively supported by HMS unions and was led by many of its leaders. HMS held a special convention under the chairmanship of Barrister Nath Pai and on 14th Julya mzadoor sympathetic strike was held.