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…and of a popular trade leader

After capturing political power, a political party eyes the potential for winning the goodwill of large sections of the labour class. The struggle is all the harder for regional political parties fresh to power as they have to dethrone well-entrenched trade union leaders of the traditional INTUC (Congress), AITUC and CITU(Communists).

I remember the bloody battle waged by DMK in the early 1970s to gain control over large trade unions. In 1971 the battle for control of the Simpson and General Workers Union resulted in the murder of a leader at the Sembium plant of Simpsons and in a prolonged strike by over 16,000 workers spread over a month. Of course the party in power lent its support and the Labour Progressive Front(LPF) of DMK gained control of hundreds of trade unions across the state.

C Kuppusamy(CK) emerged as one of the most powerful leaders of LPF. After serving the Railways for two decades, where he cut his teeth in trade union activity, CK shaped the course for LPF for three decades. CK was elected to the Lok Sabha for three terms. Thanks to such labour leaders, the state has been enjoying peaceful industrial relations for quite some time. In his demise LPF has lost one of its pillars.  


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