The workers were subjected to inhuman exploitation in the form of low wages, long hours of work and horrible working conditions. It took a long time for the workers to organize themselves into trade unions. To co-ordinate working class struggle the All India Trade Union Congress was founded in 1920. Lala Lajpat Rai was the president. During 1928-29 workers went on strike in different parts of the country. The government was unnerved by these strike waves. In 1921 they arrested 31 labour leaders and put them on trial for conspiring against the government. The trial came to be known as the Meerut Conspiracy Case.
During the Civil Disobedience movement the working class in Sholapur played a heroic role in opposing the British. During 1935-36 strikes occurred at Calcutta, Ahmedabad, and Kanpur.