Left and right come together for mill workers

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on July 29, 2011 Published on July 29, 2011

millworkers   -  Business Line

Mumbai bandh likely on Aug 1

In an unprecedented display of solidarity, right wing parties such as the Shiv Sena, BJP, MNS and Republican Party of India joined hands with the Left parties and trade unions for a protest march in Mumbai on Thursday, demanding free housing for former textile mill workers.

More than 20,000 redundant mill workers along with political party members marched from Byculla Zoo to the Azad Maidan ground in South Mumbai.

Shiv Sena has threatened that if the Maharashtra government did not accept the workers' demands then the party will call for Mumbai bandh on August 1.

Devastating strike

Until 1982, Mumbai had a booming textile industry. A strike call was given that year in January by trade union leader Datta Samant, supported by 2.5 lakh workers.

The strike was crippling and resulted in permanent closure of more than 50 mills in central Mumbai. The mill owners moved their units out of Mumbai and the mill land was developed as real estate and shopping malls. Ever since then workers have been demanding free houses and compensation from mill owners and the State government.

Shiv Sena's Executive President, Mr Uddhav Thackeray, addressing a rally at Azad Maidan said that Mumbai will be shut down on August 1 if the State government did not accept the workers demand.

Mr Raj Thackeray, estranged cousin of Mr Uddhav Thackeray and leader of MNS also joined the march but did not address the workers. The rally was also addressed by Republican Party leader Mr Ramdas Athawale and BJP leader Mr Vinod Tawde.

The workers' march also figured in the State Assembly. Both the Houses had to be adjourned for the day without transacting any major business as the Opposition members kept stalling the proceedings, demanding free houses for the mill workers.

Published on July 29, 2011
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