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Evaluate the impact of the Bombay Mill Strike of 1982.

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The Bombay Textile strike of 1982 was led by the trade union leader, Dr. Datta Samant, and affected nearly a quarter of a million workers and their families. The strike lasted nearly two years. The workers wanted better wages and also wanted the right to form their own union. According to the Bombay Industrial Relations Act (BIRA), a union had to be ‘approved’ and the only way it could be ‘approved’ was if it gave up the idea of strikes. The Congress-led Rashtriya Mill Mazdoor Sangh (RMMS) was the only approved union and it helped to break the strike by bringing in other workers and with the use of violence. The Government also refused to listen to the worker’s demands. Women too faced lot of problems. Slowly, people started going back to work because they were desperate. Many workers lost their jobs, and went back to their villages or took up casual labour, others moved to smaller towns like Bhiwandi, Malegaon and Icchalkaranji, to work in the powerloom sector. Mill owners did not invest in machinery and modernisation. Today, they are trying to sell off the mill land to real estate dealers to build luxury apartment. 

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