ORIGIN OF MADRAS RAILWAY COMPANY

Before the history of this trade union is written, it is necessary to go into the growth of Railway in this part of the country.

A Company by name\he Madras Railway Company Limited was floated in Madras with Royapuram as its headquarters. The first turf was turned out by the Governor of Madras on 9-6-1853 and the work was completed and a Railway line between Veysarpadi and Walajah Road, the then Arcot, was opened for traffic in 1856. In the same period, a Workshop at Perambur for purposes of construction was established/ Then gradu- ally Raichur line was connected in 1871, Bangalore in 1882 and Calicut in 1888. The line'between Kovur and Rajamundry under the control of East Coast State Railway was taken over by Madras Railway Company constructing bridges overthe rivers Krishna and Godavari. In the interior south, the South Indian Railway Company, an amalgam- ated company of South Indian Railway and the Carnatic Railway, opened its M.G. lines from Madras Egmore to Tuticorin, Villupuram to Guntakal, Erode to Tiruchrappalli during the period of 1854 and 1860. In 1899, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway was opened for traffic. The headquarters of this Railway was functioning at Tiruchirappalli. As a famine relief project, the Mysore State opened a Railway line first from Mysore to Bangalore in 1881, Banglore to Gubbi in 1884 and Gubbi to Harihar in 1889 with headquarters at Mysore.

CONDITIN OF RAILWAY WORKERS FIRST STRIKE

Workers were subjected to ill-treatment and insults as there was no organisation to voice forth their difficulties. Human nature started resisting without any leadership and in an unorganised manner. Agitation for higher wages culminated first in a sit down strike in Perambur Workshop gate which could be termed as the first sit down strike in 1905. The management,in order to thwart the strikers, caught hold of idlers from Royapuram and Madras and carried them into the workshop by trains. The workers thus demoralised reported to duty and they were very severely punished.

FORMATION OF M&S.M. RLY. COMPANY

' In 1908, the Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway Company formed by amal gamation of Southern Mahratta Railway Company and the Madras Railway
Company Limited. 1

SECOND STRIKE

In 1911, another strike took place lead by the Amalgamated Society of Railway servants headed by some London Railwaymen. Drivers, Guards, Station Masters and some openline staff participated in the strike. A driver named Alexatiider and a Station Master by name Margam Iyer took prominent part in that strike. A partial success was claimed, the management meeting halfway in granting mileage allowance etc., forthe running staff. But, Driver Alexander and Station Master Margam Iyer lost their jobs.

THIRD STRIKE

Encouraged by the success, the Amalgamated Society attempted to organise the Perambur workers. In 1912, a strike was called by Perambur workers which lasted for a week and a settlement was arrived at. After a week, half-a-dozen workers who took part in that strike were removed from service, the names of those being; M/s. Parthasarathy Naidu, W. Shop; Gopal, Boiler Shop; Subbarayalu, Boiler shop; Krishnan, C. R. Shop;. Wright, C.B.Shop and A, Mohamed, Erecting shop. The workers went to