Madras. In that Conference, a memorandum containing all fundamental griveances was prepared and sent to the Railway Board, Railway management, Home Board and the Secretary of State for India.

SECOND FOUNDATION STONE LAID BY MAHATMA GANDHI

The second Annual Conference was held in January 1927 in Gokhale Hall un- der the presidentship of Shri U. Rama Rao, M.L.A. In that conference Shri S. Srinivasa Iyengar was elected to the Presidentship along with Shri D. Kolandai as General Sec- retary of Union. The need for Organising Secretary was felt and Shri K.S. Margam Iyer, a victim of 1912 strike, was appointed as the Organising Secretary to organise Branches all over the M. & S. M. Railway.

It was found necessary to have a building of its own for Union office. When the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi visited Madras on 3-9-1927, he was invited to lay the foundation stone forthe Union building and he readily performed. It was a day of rejoice for Perambur workers. On that occason, Smt. Kasthuribai Gandhi and Rev. C.F. Andrews were also present, Smt. Kasthuribai Gandi handed the first brick to Ma- hatma Gandhi to lay the foundation stone, which was a unique incident in the annuals of the M & S.M. Railway Employees' Union.

A decision was taken to bring into the folds of the Union all the 50,000 workers The political situation in the country at this hour was at its climax. The Government wanted to crush the trade union movement in the country, but the railwaymen faced bravely.

THIRD ANNUAL CONFERENCE

The third Annual Conference of the Union was held in January 1928 in Spur Tank grounds, Egmore, Madras, in the same pandal of All India Congress session. About 4,000 workers from Perambur went in a procession to the Conference lead by Capt. M.J. Veeraraghavalu, under presidentship of Shri Srinivasa Iyengar, MLA. in which delegates from Hubli, Arkonam and Jolarpet participated. Several resolutions were adopted to improve the service conditions of the workers. Another Organising Secretary by name John Kumaraswamy was also added for effective enrolment of members on the openline. The resolutions adopted at the conference were sent to the management asking the Agent to meet the Union leaders for a discussion which the Agent turned down on the plea that the Union office-bearers consisted of outsiders. This rejection was seriously taken to heart by the workers.

UNiON MEETS DIRECTOR OF HOME BOARD

Fortunately, during that year, Sir Francis Couchman, Director from the Home Board, visited Madras. The Union office-bearers took that opportunity to meet him. A deputation lead by its vice-President Shri Panchaksharachary met the Director, Home Board on 24-2-1928, Discussion was cordial, as a result of which wage was increased from eight annas to ten annas, granted 12 paid holidays, hospital facilities, school facilities etc.

FOURTH ANNUAL
CONFERENCE

The fourth Annual Conference was held in the C.R.C.High School Hall, Perambur, on 27th and 28th January 1929 where Shri V.V. Giri was elected as President on the
recommendation of the outgoing President Shri Srinivasa Iyengar. From that time the
activities of the Union took a new turn and enthusiasm was seen amongst the
railwaymen. Shri Giri addressed several meetings of workers and infused in them
faith in the trade union movement.

Fresh from the successful Kharagpur workshop strike, Shri V.V. Giri's name and fame spread like fire amongst railwaymen in the country and created a respect, regard and faith in his leadership. The clerical staff at Headquarters offices of M & S.M. Railway took keen interest in the Union affairs and the Madras Clercial Branch was