imports to India were restricted, while there
While the prices of essential commodities and services were increasing at a
fast rate, the wages could not catch up with the rising cost of living. This
made the workers to agitate.
    A proper guidance and leadership was provided by some of the nationalist
leaders, who wanted to enlist the support of the workers for their movement.
    The Russian Revolution of 1917 and the establishment of USSR held out
the prospect of a new social order to the workers.
    The establishment of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in 1919
after the World War I and its protection and preservation of the interests of
the workers and its tripartite constitution also helped the growth of labour
association in India.
    Trade Union movement in India grouped through the following stages.
First Stage (1875–1918) During the whole of the first stage, no trade
unions were organised and no concrete steps were taken except that some
enlightened leaders convened meetings to submit memorandum and
representations before government appointed commissions and committees.
First Factory Commission and Act Due to the growing menace of all the
evils of factory system, the first Factory Commission was appointed in
Bombay in 1875 and the first Factory Act was passed in 1881. The main
provisions of the act were as follows:
No child below 7 years of age should be employed; those between 7 and 12
were to work for only 9 hours a day; they were not to operate any dangerous
machinery or be employed in two different factories on the same day.
Four holidays a month and a break of an hour during working hours were
provided for.
Though no restrictions were placed on the employment of adult labour,
provision was made to guard against such parts of machinery as could be
dangerous if left unfenced, and for the reporting of accidents.
Supervisors were appointed by the provincial governments to ensure that the
law was properly implemented.
The term factory was defined as ‘any premises (other than indigo, tea, coffee
plantations) wherein work was carried on for not less than four months in any
year by any process utilising mechanical or steam power and wherein not less
than 100 persons were employed.’