The most important year in the history of Indian Trade Union movement is 1920 when the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) was formed consequent upon the necessity of electing delegates for the International Labour Organisation (ILO). This is the first All India trade union in the country. The first meeting of the AITUC was held in October, 1920 at Bombay (now Mumbai) under the presidentship of Lala Lajpat Rai. The formation of AITUC led to the establishment of All India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF) in 1922. Many company Railway Unions were affiliated to it. Signs of militant tendency and revolutionary ideas were apparent during this period.
Period of splits and mergers
The splinter group of AITUC formed All India Trade Union Federation (AITUF) in 1929. Another split by the communists in 1931 led to the formation of All India Red Trade Union Congress. Thus, splits were more common during the period. However, efforts were made by the Railway Federation to bring unity within the AITUC. These efforts did bear fruit and All India Red Trade Union Congress was dissolved. Added to this, All India Trade Union Federation also merged with AITUC. The unified AITUC’s convention was held in 1940 in Nagpur. But the unity did not last long. The World War II brought splits in the AITUC. There were two groups in the AITUC, one supporting the war with the other opposing it. The supporting group established its own central organisation called the Indian Federation of Labour. A further split took place in 1947, when the top leaders of the Indian National Congress formed another central organisation.
Indian national trade union congress Industrial Relation
The efforts of Indian National Congress resulted in the establishment of Indian National
Trade Union Congress (INTUC) by bringing about a split in the AITUC. INTUC started
gaining membership right from the beginning.
Other central unions
Socialists separated from AITUC had formed Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS) in 1948. The Indian Federation of Labour merged with the HMS. Radicals formed another union under the name of United Trade Union Congress in 1949. Thus, the trade union movement in the country was split into four distinct central unions during the short span of three years, from 1946 to 1949.
Some other central unions were also formed. They were Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) in 1955, the Hind Mazdoor Panchayat (HMP) in 1965 and Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) in 1970. Thus, splinter group of INTUC formed Union Trade Union Congress - the split in the Congress party in 1969 resulted in the split in INTUC and led to the formation of National Labour Organisation (NLO).

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