The Oldest Trade Union

Madras Labour Union office
Madras Labour Union office

Do you know that the oldest organised Trade Union in India was the Madras Labour Union  (MLU)?  It was formed by BP Wadia ( a Theosophist ) and Kalyanasundaram Mudaliar in 1918 for the workers of Buckingham & Carnatic Mills.

A historic strike in B & C Mills in 1921 caused a lot of social and political upheavals. The Congress party under C Rajagopalachary supported the workers. The ruling Justice party was ambivalent and many members of the party rebelled and broke away. It also polarised the workers on the basis of caste and religion.

After some glorious years as a textile giant, B& C mills closed down in 1998 under the burden of mounting losses, debts and labour related issues.

The building housing MLU was built by Selvaganapathy Chettiar and Ramanuja Naidu local supporters and sympathisers of the mill workers.

This is the current state of the building whose ownership and occupation is under litigation.

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Madras Labour Union office
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Madras Labour Union office
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Madras Labour Union office
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Madras Labour Union office
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2 thoughts on “The Oldest Trade Union

  1. I started my career in B&C mills. we often visit the hotel near this building after our work is over at 12 Midnight. now after many years when ever I happened to
    see this building it brings back all old memories.Thank you.

    Like

    • Nice to hear that Mr Marthandan. If you have any interesting experiences about the mills, the building or the locality please post here.

      Like

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