Conducts research and collects data on the global history of labour, workers, and labour relations

Nonviolent Trade Union

4 December 1917
Gandhi Ashram
Wikimedia Commons

The Indian Textile Labour Association TLA was founded as the outcome of a strike in the Ahmenabad textile industry which broke out on 4 December 1917. This day was commemorated as majoor din (labour day) ever since. In the course of the agitation an angry worker had attacked the secretary of the Millowners Association. When Mahatma Gandhi heard of the incident, he imposed a fine of Rs 10 on the worker. As a result of Gandhi's involvement, the labour union adopted non-violence as one of its basic principles. In spite of its militant origins, the organization preferred cooperation with the employers as its main means of representing the interests of its members. Strikes or other forms of direct action would be resorted to only if absolutely necessary. Labour was deemed subordinate to capital.

From: Jan Breman, 'The Expulsion of Labour from the Formal Sector of the Economy' in Workers in the Informal Sector (New Delhi 2005) 192.