1974 railway strike in India
The strike was held to demand a raise in pay scale, which had remained stagnant over many years, in spite of the fact that pay scales of other government owned entities had risen over the years. Further, since British time the Railways termed the work of the loco staff as "continuous", implying that workers would have to remain at work as long as the train ran on its trip, often for several days at a stretch especially on the goods trains. Independence did not change this. The spread of diesel engines and the consequent intensification of work in the Indian Railways since the 1960s created much resentment among the workers. The Railways, although government-owned, remained an organization in which the accepted worldwide standard of an eight-hour working day was violated with impunity. In fact, when the crafts unions raised the issue, they demanded a 12-hour working day for loco running staff.
As President of the all India Railwaymen’s Federation George Fernandes led the strike. The strike commenced on 8 May 1974. The strike was brutally suppressed by Indira Gandhi government with thousands being sent to jail and losing their jobs.In Chennai it was under C.Bala Krishnan and Sakthidasan. The strike was called off on 27 May 1974.
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