INDUSTRIES LARGE-SCALE AND
HISTORY 0F TRADE UNION MOVEMENT.
With a vast area of fertile land and six rivers
flowing within its boundaries, Kolhapur is mainly a land of
agriculture. The district is not industrially advanced even though
the former State authorities granted many facilities by way of tax
exemptions, granting cheap land etc. to foster industrial
development in the region. The number of persons engaged in
organised industries was hardly 5,600 in 1954. Industries which have
developed, are those which consume local crops like cotton,
sugarcane and groundnut. They are concentrated round about Kolhapur
city and Ichalkaranji town. Organised industrial labour, therefore,
is mainly concentrated in Kolhapur city and Ichalkaranji town. The
earliest trade union organised in the district was the Press Workers
Union at Kolhapur. It was registered under the Trade Unions Act,
1926. It had 65 members on 31st March 1954. The merger of the old
Kolhapur State in the Indian Union in 1949 enlarged the scope of
trade union movement in the district. The number of trade unions
which was four in 1945 increased to nine during 1946-50 and 23
during 1951-53. There were 24 registered trade unions in the
district in 1954. This number does not include one union, the
registration of which was cancelled.
Members of Unions.
There were eight registered unions in 1949-50. The
total number of members of six of them for which information was
available was 1,743, out of whom 1,665 were males and 78 were
females. In 1950-51 the number of registered trade unions was 10.
The total number of members of the eight unions was 1,751, of whom
1,595 were males and 156 were females. Five unions had no female
members. There were 21 registered unions in 1952-53. The total
number of members of 19 unions (as membership of the other two was
not available), was 3,057 out of whom 2,839 were males and 218 were
females. Twelve unions had no female members. The total membership
of 22 unions in 1953-54 was 2,893 of whom 2,784 were males and 109
Income of Unions.
The main source of income of these unions was
contributions from members, donations, interest on investments funds
and miscellaneous items. In 1949-50, the income of the six
registered unions was Rs. 8,318. In 1950-51 the income of eight
registered unions was Rs. 10,156. Nineteen had the income of Rs.
20,965 in 1952-53. The total income of 22 registered unions in
1953-54 was Rs. 20,212 out of which Rs. 16,674 was collected by way
of contributions from members, Rs. 3,273 way of donations, and Rs.
265 by way of interest and miscellaneous sources.
The main items of expenditure of these unions were
salaries paid to office-bearers, expenses incurred on legal matters,
compensation paid to members and expenses incurred on items like
funerals and education of children of members of unions. The total
expenses incurred by the six registered unions in 1949 on the items
quoted above were Rs. 9,529. Eight unions spent Rs. 10,156 in
1950-51 and 19, Rs. 15,979 in 1952-53 and 22, Rs. 13,161 on the
above items in 1953-54 Out of the total expenses of these unions in
1953-54, Rs. 10,160 were spent on salaries of officers of unions and
on other expenses on them, Rs. 1,587 on legal expenses on trade
disputes and Rs. 661 on compensation and other benefits to members
and the remaining on other items.
Assets and liabilities.
The total assets of the six registered unions in
1949 were, Rs. 7,293; of eight, Rs. 6,550 in 1950-51; of 19, Rs.
23,355 in 1952-53 and of 22, Rs. 28,397 in 1953-54. Of the total
assets of 1953-54, Rs. 16,473 were kept in the form of cash at hand
or in banks, Rs. 78 in the form of securities. The unpaid
subscriptions which remained to be collected from members of unions
amounted to Rs. 9,539 during that year. Among the existing unions in
the district the Shahu Mill Kamgar Sangh had the largest assets in
In 1949-50 five unions had an amount of Rs. 4,683 as
general fund, the sixth registered union had no general fund to its
credit. A3 regards liabilities of these six registered unions, two
unions had liabilities of Rs. 312 and four had no liabilities at
In 1950-51, of the eight unions which supplied
information seven unions had Rs. 3,603 as general fund, and one
union had no general fund. As regards liabilities, four unions had
liabilities of Rs. 3,014 and the other four had no liabilities. In
1952-53 the nineteen unions, which supplied information, had Rs.
13,394 as general fund. Three unions had liabilities of Rs. 9,961
and other sixteen had no liabilities. In 1953-54, twenty-two unions,
which supplied information, had Rs. 18,615 as general fund. Twenty
unions had no liabilities and two unions had liabilities of Rs.
Strikes and lockouts.
During 1952-54, four workers' strikes were organised
in the district, affecting two cotton textile units, one engineering
concern and a bidi factory. The demand of the workers in their
disputes was that they wanted an increase in their wages. These
strikes involved 205 workers who lost 2,356 man-days work. Out of
the four strikes, one was organised indefinitely. Workers were
unsuccessful in getting their demands accepted in three strikes and
they were successful in one strike. There were no lockouts during
With the passing of the Bombay Industrial Relations
Act, 1946 (Bombay State Act) and the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947
(Central Act), which were brought into force by the Bombay State on
29th September 1947, and 1st April 1947, respectively, the relations
between the industrial employees and employers have been precisely
regulated. Both the laws provide for a machinery of settlement of
industrial disputes either by conciliation and arbitration under the
Bombay Industrial Relations Act, or by conciliation and adjudication
under the Industrial Disputes Act.
The following four unions were registered under the
Bombay Industrial Relations Act and represented the industries and
areas as shown against them: -
Name of the Union.
Ichalkaranji Girni Kamgar Samiti,
Bank Employees' Union, Kolhapur.
Karvir taluka and Shirol taluka.
Kolhapur Sugar Mill Kamgar Union, Kolhapur.
Shahu Mill Kamgar Sangh, Kolhapur.
During 1950-54, 23 cases from the district were
referred to the Industrial Court under the Bombay Industrial
Relations Act, five to the Court of Industrial Tribunal and one to
the Wage Board and 47 to the Labour Court. Of the twenty-three cases
referred to the Industrial Court, 22 were decided or disposed off
during the same period and one was kept pending. So also all the
five cases referred to the Court of Industrial Tribunal and one
referred to the Wage Board were decided during the same period.
Of the 33 cases referred in this district to
conciliation during 1952-53 and 1954 under the Bombay Industrial
Relations Act, 1946, nine were regarding pay and allowances, ten
regarding bonus, two regarding personnel, seven regarding other
matters and five regarding leave and hours of work. Further analysis
of these disputes showed that 13 were from cotton textile industry,
13 from banking and 7 from sugar industry. Out of the 33 disputes,
18 were settled, 3 failed, 8 were withdrawn or closed and 4 were
pending at the end of the period.
During 1952-53 and 1954 under the Industrial
Disputes Act. 1947, 108 cases were referred to conciliation. Of the
108 cases referred, 101 were regarding pay and allowances, one
regarding bonus, 2 regarding personnel, and 4 regarding other
matters. Further analysis of these disputes showed that, 13 were
from cotton textile industry 7 from bidi industry, 4 each from
engineering and municipalities, one from cinema industry and 79 from
other industries. Out of the total cases referred, 79 disputes were
settled, 16 failed, 11 were withdrawn or closed and two were pending
at the end of period.
The Employees State Insurance Act, 1952, was made
applicable to eight factories, covering 616 workers. Government had
not started any Labour Welfare Centre in the district, till 1957.