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The Great Indian Postal Strike of 1946 - Special Independence Day Post

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

On the eve of 66th Independence Day, we present you an article, depicting the Trade Union Struggle in the aura of our Freedom Movement by the P & T employees against the mighty British Government. Those were the days, when the country was passing through a period of transition, formation of a Nation was underway. Thought this struggle in strict sense can't be termed a 'Nationalist Struggle', but it infused the sense of nationalism, a sense of pride and self-belief, faith in the power of unified struggle.

1946 All India Postal Strike 

The All India Postmen & Lower Grade Staff Union declared an indefinite strike from 11th July 1946 on a 16 point Charter of Demands. It was a period when the entire country was fighting against the British rule and many struggles were being organised as part of the Independence movement. The government immediately declared the postal strike as illegal. The reformist leadership of the Federation of P & T Employees issued a statement opposing the strike. The Indian Telegraph Union also disassociated from the strike. But this could not deter the strike action. In Bengal, under the leadership of Com.Bhupendra Nath Ghosh, who later became the Secretary General of NFPTE, full support was given to the strike Com. K.G Bose took a leading role in organising the same. 

The strike spread like wild fire all over India. In the major cities like Madras, Bombay and Calcutta, massive processions with full support of the trade unions were organised. The hartal and bandh organised in Calcutta in support of the strike on 29th July 1946, was one of the biggest Calcutta has ever seen till that time Com KG took a very important role in organising the same.

The Congress and the All India Trade Union Congress, which was the only national trade union at that time, gave full support to the strike. The British government had to come down to negotiate and 12 out of the 16 demands were conceded and the strike ended on 6th August after 26 days on a successful note. Government also declared "Good Conduct Pay" to the P&T employees. The strike resulted in a new thinking on the part of workers and leaders on the necessity of having a united organisation in P&T. The leaders who opposed the strike got isolated from the workers. 

Report on the postal strike of 1946 in Indian Express on July 24, 1946. View the entire report here


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