Gradual industrialisation of India created an industrial working class. Growth of Jute and Cotton industry resulted in emergence of working class in the organised sector, at the same time informal workers were working as casual labours in docks and markets.
Working-class movement involves various kinds of reactions and responses of workers to industrial system. The reaction emerged to ameliorate the working and living conditions. The movement later got intertwined with national movement against colonial government.
Reason for Emergence of Labour Movement
- Exploitation: The urban workplace levelled the older caste-communal differences leading to new bonds emerging among the workers. Their dire condition due to low wages, improper working conditions and sub-human environment created consciousness about the power relations in the factory.
- Twin antagonistic forces: The Indian workers had to face oppression from imperial forces and foreign industrialists and at the same time from the Indian business class.
- Chronic capitalism: During the wartime crisis when the prices were rising creating profits for businesses, there was hardly any attempt made to increase wages of the workers.
- Negligible and anti-welfare legislation: It created deeper resentment and with the support of congress and communists, the labour movement was more popularized. Notable here was Gandhi’s effort which emphasised mass mobilisation, thus bringing workers under the broader fold.
- The establishment of Socialist Soviet Union and the International Labour Organisation further gave impetus to the Working-class movement.