Thursday, July 28, 2016

A Malaya-wide Protest Against Wage Issue - All Malayan Rubber Estate Workers' Council

One of the biggest strikes that was staged by All Malaya Rubber Workers' Council (AMRWC) under leadership of CSV Krishna Moorthy was the national strike calling all rubber tappers to stage a one-day stop work as to show their defiant towards Planters Association.

The important fact to notice here is that although AMWRC was a Indian dominated labour union, it also took up care of issue pertaining to Chinese labourer. As a result of this strike organised on 25th August 1947, the British establishment was shaken not only for a day of Malaya-wide rubber plantation strike, but also the British started to realise that the Indians and Chinese are collaborating with each other.    

The Straits Times dated 21st August 1947 reported that All Malaya Rubber Estate Workers' Council would call for a Malaya-wide if UPAM refused to grant them 100 percent wage increase and removal of the 20 percent wage reduction for the Chinese labourers which was implement in July 1947. The meeting was held between the 60 Indian representatives of Negeri Sembilan Rubber Workers Union and President of AMRWC, CSVK Moorthi.

Other resolutions taken were:
1. AMRWC empower to negotiate wage issue with UPAM
2. A memorandum to be forwarded to UPAM urging the association to discuss wage issue with AMRWC. Failing to reach any agreement will result to one-day protest.
3. A memorandum also to be sent to the Governor of Malayan Union, Sir Edward Gent, requesting him to urge UPAM to discuss with AMRWC on wage matter. Failing to do so, the workers also issued an ultimatum that "the Government would be responsible for whatever labour dispute might arise in future"


Meanwhile, the Singapore Free Press dated 22 August 1947 stated that, a protest to be staged on the 25th August 1947 to be a token protest against the "adamant of  the UPAM" on issue related to wages.

The council also requested to seek timely and effective help from Pan Malayan Federation of Trade Unions for the assistance and advise.  The PMFTU was under the leadership of S.A Ganapathy.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Unsung Hero - CSV Krishna Moorthy

CSV Krishna Moorthy led the All Malayan Estate Workers Council fought not only for the rights of Indian estate labourers in Malaya but for all Malayan labourers including Malays and Chinese. As All Malayan Rubber Workers Council was under Pan Malayan Federation of Trade Unions, AMRWC, shared the same aspiration of PMFTU.

CSV Krishna Moorthy known to many as Vincent and Jivaraj passed his 7th form in an English school. He worked as welder and fitter at Sentul Railway Workshop. After the war he played important roles in trade union movements in Malaya as he held many numerous position in many trade unions - Secretary of General Labour Union, General Secretary of Railways Workers Union, President of Selangor Estate Workers Union, President of All Malayan Rubber Workers Council, Assistance Secretary of PMFTU and Secretary of Indian Section of Malayan Communist Party.

T.N Harper in his book "The Forgotten War" mentioned unlike S.A Ganapathy, CSVK Moorthi and P.Veerasenan (President of Singapore Habour Union and Singapore Federation of Trade Unions) were not communists as claimed by the British.

Moorthy was forced to go underground and embrace communist ideology due to British staged Malayan Emergency in June 1948. In the hidings, he was in charge of party's Tamil newspaper edition. He was reported died (The Straits Time dated 29th May 1954) due to blood poising for having to eat elephant meat.

Even though being a Telugu, he died for class struggle and not for caste or communal struggle. We were so united back then as Malayan, unlike now!

ST- 29th May 1954

Jananayagam - 5th May 1945 - Ganapathy's Short History

Jananayagam (Democracy) published on the 5th May 1949 carried the life story of Ganapathy on its first page - "Thukkilidapatta Ganapath...