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TRADE UNIONISM

Trade unions have because as integral and powerful factor is the contemporary system of producing and distributing goods & services. Wherever modern civilization has touched, trade union has followed. For a developing economy such as ours trade unions and their policies are of special significance. However, it is rather s difficult task to precisely define the trade union, because it is a complex institution, having many facts-economy, social, politics and psychological. Further trade union is a dynamic concept where the unions have as important characteristic of adaptability to change with the change in the environment and as such their nature also changes. Numerous authors and books have discussed the origin, growth, structure and functions of trade unions without formulating a formulating a formal definition of a trade unions. However we will do well to present here some famous definition given by few authorities on trade union movement. Dale Yoder says, “A union is a continuing long-term association of employee, formed and maintained for the specific purpose of advancing and protecting the interest of member in their working relationships.” Sidney & Beatrice Webb say’ “A trade union is a continuous association of wage earners for the purpose of maintaining or improve the conditions of their working lives.” Dankert says, “A trade union is a continuing organization of employees established for the purpose of protecting or improving through collective action, the economic and social status of its members” An examination of this definition will show that different authors have defined a trade unions is a different way. As there are differences in structure objective and method of the organizations, it is difficult to arrive at a specific definition which may cover the entire distinguishing feature. However on the basis of the above defined as, A continuous and voluntary association of the salary earners and employees engaged in whatever industrial and trade, formed for safeguarding the interests of its member, maintaining and improving the condition of their working lives, raising their status and promoting their vocational interests, and securing better relation between them and their employers, through Collective Bargaining. Finally taking the cue from Abrahm Lincoln’s famous quote, “Democracy is of the people, by the people, for the people.” We may safely conclude that “trade union is of the workers, by the workers and for the workers.” ORIGIN OF TRADE UNION Trade union movement is the result of the modern industrialization. Institutions grow to meet the needs of a particular time and place. Trade unions have grown

in response to the peculiar needs and problem which the wage earners have had to face in the course of industrialization under the capitalist economy system. The following are the feature of the process of industrialization that has necessitated the origin of the trade unions.
(1)

Separation between labour & capital. Capital and labour came to be supplied by two different sets of persons. Industrialization had led to separations between the ownership of capital and labour, both of which are necessary for the production of the goods and services. As buyers of labour, the capitalists were interested in paying the lowest possible price and as supplies of lobour, the workers were interested in securing the highest possible price. Thus, the conflict between the two prompted workers to come together by forming their unions.
(2)

Philosophy of Laissez- Faire : The dominant Philosophy of laissez-Faire and economic liberalism prevented the state from coming to the rescue of the suffering mass of industrial workers. The state remained silent and through a policy of non-intervention in the economy life of the community heightened the degree of exploitation, missing and suffering of the working class. Such pitiable condition of labour led to the formation of union. (3) Lack of Bargaining Power on the Part of the Workers: The workman, deprived of any independent means of livelihood and being the seller of most perishable commodity, was no match for his employer either in the bargaining skill or in economic resource and waiting power. It was competition resource and waiting power. It was competition between a pigmy and a giant that as a matter of fact, determined the terms and conditions of employment in favour of the latter. The individual workers were dispensable to the employer. That is why workers thought it necessary to form unions.
(4)

Individual dispensability but collective indispensability : The individual workers was dispensable to the employer but workman, collectively were indispensable to him. The employer could easily and always gets rid of the service of few workmen and replace them by other but he could not readily replace them. Thought it took a long time to come, it must have been a great moment in the history of the workers class when the realization came. SALIENT FEATURE OR CHARACTERSTICS OF TRADE UNION :

(1)

Trade- unions are essentially voluntary organizations : The membership in trade union is voluntary in nature. One can not be compelled or forced to be its member. In any industry or trade, the workers are the liberty to subscribe to trade union activities or to stay to subscribe to trade union activities or to stay out of it at their sweet-will. That is because, if workers are forced to be its member, the very purpose of trade of trade unionism is defeated.
(2)

Trade-unions are democratic institutions : It is a corollary to the statement given above. The point given above safely indicates that trade unions are democratic in nature.
(3)

Trade union is an association of workers & wage earners only : It is essentially ‘ a cooperative labour marketing association’. It purpose is to secure control of the supply of labour is one or more market and to maintain that control as a mean of fixing the price of labour as well as the condition under which it works. It may also try to advance the social, political and cultural interests of its members.
(4)

Labour union are continuous and relatively permanent combinations of workers and not temporary or casual : It is not as one a one day affair, they persist through the year and conceive of their purpose as one which is not merely immediate but continuous.
(5)

The character of trade unions are constantly changing : Trade union changes their method and their working to adjust themselves to changing circumstances as a production. Therefore there has been no finality about unions, their working and their methods. The origin and growth of the trade union has been influenced by a number of ideologies. Two of the major theories or ideologies are, -Marxist theory -Democratic or Reformative theory The third ideology having special relevance to India conditions is Gandhian Philosophy of trusteeship theory. MARXIST THEORY :

According to Marx trade union are the means to as end i.e. the best means to bring about the revolution to restructure the society. Trade unions are the best tools to bring about revolution and to overthrow the capitalists. REFORMATIVE OR DEMOCRATIC THEORY: The proponents of the reformative theory are Sidney and Beatrice web. For them trade union are the agent or centers to bring about industries democracy. It implies that there should be mutual cooperation between labour and capital. Labour must get its due share from profit. GANDHIAN PHILOSOPHY: Gandhiji propounded the trusteeship theory of Industries Relations. For him industry is a trust. Capital holds industry as a trust on behalf of the labour. Similarly, labour holds industry as a trust on behalf of the capital. Again, capital and labour both hold industry as a trust and behalf of the consumer. FUNTIONS OF TRADE UNIONS: The function of modern trade union is much wide and more comprehensive than their forecasting. Generally speaking these function have been termed as (a)- Militant or protections functions (b)- Fraternal, ministrant or positive functions The former function aim at securing better conditions of work and employment for its embers through militant activities like strike lock-outs etc in case of failure of collective bargaining. The latter functions provide benefit to their member and support them during strikes, lock-outs or during periods of temporary unemployment by giving them financial support out of the fund by their contribution. The functions of trade unions can also be classified into intra-mural or extra-mural functions. The former include the welfare schemes of the unions within factory premises to improve workers condition of employment regulation of hours of work and provision of rest, interval adequate wages, sanitation safety and security continuity of employment ,etc for performing these function collection bargaining negotiations and resort to strike, lockout may be adopted. The latter include welfare schemes carried on with a view to keep workers when in need such as assistance ( medical or financial) during casualties provision of education recreational and housing facilitates provision of social and religious benefits including payment of expenses of funeral or religious ceremonies for deceased member or their dependants. To successfully carry out these function and responsibility the trade union should posses three charactestics :

(1)

It must be internally strong so as to be effective in protecting the workers economic interest that is it must have capacity to force it self as an effective weapon against management militancy.
(2)

It must be internally responding so as to use economic power in a careful way that is it must be aware of the existing realities is terms of both opportunities for improving the living condition of its members and limitation. There is only one test which should be applied namely-whether the development of a particular measure is effective for the purpose in hand. (3) It must be internally democratic so as to make real the worker’s right of self-government. No matter how cumbersome is the procedure the democratic process within the union should be prepared so that every member will have a voice in determining political policies. METHODS OF ACHIEVING THE OBJECTIVES: The objective of trade unions are usually achieved according to Webbs, through the method of, - mutual insurance - collective bargaining - legal enactment All these methods are interdependent and mutually exclusive but they are interdependent and mutually exclusive but they are rather complimentary. Beside these there are other methods too like strike, lockouts etc, which are used as pressure tactics. METHOD OF MUTUAL INSURANCE: The method of mutual insurance comprises mainly welfare benefits by the trade union for improving the condition of their member, promoting goodwill among them and maintaining solidarity within the organization. It involves the creation of a common fund to which every member is required to contribute and the fund so collected is for financing strike welfare activities and other mutual benefits schemes. However mutual insurance as a trade union method has increasing been over-shadowed by the provision of social security and welfare measure introduction at the instance of the state. METHOD OF COLLECTIVE BARGAINING:

Another method used by trade union for improving the conditions of their member is collective bargaining under this method, their representative’s bargain with the employee over the terms and condition of employment and enter into agreement with him. The agreement thus arrived at between the representative of a trade union and the employer is known as a collective agreement. A collective agreement may deal with a single issue or may cover a wide range of subject. Collective bargaining has succeeded in introducing as element of industrial democracy in the field of industries and labour management. METHOD OF LEGAL ENACTMENT: The method of legal enactment or political action help the union in realization of their objective through enactment of progressive labour legislation and its proper enforcement of progressive labour legislation and its proper enforcement. Competent representatives are sent to legislatures so that protective labour legislation is enacted for securing better working and living condition for the workers. It is through the legislation that most trade unions seek to attain their needs. This method satisfies more perfectly, for a legislation measure is enforced by the government and it is beyond the influence of the exigencies of even the worst type of depression. OTHER METHOD – Besides the above three methods such as strikes, gheraos bandhs, slowing down of production, passive resistance, picketing, sabotage, and boycott are also used as pressure tactics. These methods imply direct action. In the final analysis we may conclude that trade unions are organized by workers to solve the labour problems created by modern industry. They are voluntary associations of workers formed to promote and protect their interests by collective action. They play different roles for example they act as an agent of government, and help it in maintaining social discipline and in administering its policies. They act as partners in social control are a more or less formalized manner. They play a role as class bargainers ,on behalf of civil servants as a class,each demanding a fair share in the national income. They act as the enemy of the industrial system, sabotaging product, and encouraging excessive consumption aspirations on the part of the workers, such as higher wages, higher bonus etc. To achieve these objectives, trade union may utilize a variety of means which depend on the attitude of the unions regarding the economic system in which they operate, the degree of group and class consciousness among workers, the nature of political organization and the nature and type of trade union leadership. MARX DEFINITION OF T.U-

Trade union is an organizing centre or a local point for the functional organization of the working class towards a change in the structure of the society. Definition of T.U as per the T.U ActIt is defined as any combination whether permanent or temporary format. For improving relation between workers and workmen between workmen and employer, between employer and employer imposing restrictions condition of any trade or business.