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Enrollment No. A11911114083
Course B.A, LL.B (Hons.)
Section B
Batch 2014-19


Trade unions are organizations of workers formed to protect the rights and interests of
workers through collective action.
In India, the first quarter of the 20th century gave the birth of the trade union movement. A
series of strikes were declared in India in the twenties. The success of most of these strikes
led to the organization of many unions.

In 1920, the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) was set up. In 1926, the Trade Unions
Act was passed which gave a legal status to the registered trade unions.

Subsequently many trade unions were formed such as:

Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC),
Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU),
Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS),
Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangha (BMS),
United Trade Union Congress (UTUC), and
National Federation of Independent Trade Unions (NFITU)


An organization whose membership consists of workers and union leaders, united to protect
and promote their common interests.
The principal purposes of a labor union are to (1) negotiate wages and working condition
terms, (2) regulate relations between workers (its members) and the employer, (3) take
collective action to enforce the terms of collective bargaining, (4) raise new demands on
behalf of its members, and (5) help settle their grievances. A trade union may be: (a) A
company union that represents interests of only one company and may not have any
connection with other unions.

Under Section 2(h) of Trade Union Act, 1926 Trade Union has been defined as:
(h) "trade union" means any combination, whether temporary or permanent, formed primarily
for the purpose of regulating the relations between workmen and employers or between
workmen and workmen, or between employers and employers, or for imposing restrictive

conditions on the conduct of any trade or business, and includes any federation of two or
more trade unions.

Recognition Of Trade Unions

Trade Unions are the groups set-up with the aim of trying to create fairness and job
security in a workplace. A trade union is an organization of workers who have banded
together to achieve common goals in key areas such as wages, hours, and working
conditions. Basically a trade union bargains with the employer on behalf of union
members and negotiates with employers. Freedom of association has been the corner
stone of society. This freedom finds its expression in a democratic form of government.
Trade unionism has been a movement launched against the concentration of economic
power in the hands of a few individuals of society and for the purpose of promoting the
welfare of working class. Trade union movement is not confined to the premises of one
nation or country but it has widened to the international field as well. It may be desirable
to mention that besides trade unions in specific countries, there is one international
organisation of working class known as International Labor Organisation (ILO) for
promoting labor welfare.

Trade Unions Act, 1926

The object of Trade Unions Act, 1926 is to provide for registration of Trade unions and to
define law relating to registered trade unions in certain aspects. In the year 1925 the
Government of India, after consulting the State Governments drew up a Bill providing for the
registration of trade unions and introduced the same in the Legislative Assembly on the 1st
August,1925. The Indian Trade Union Act was passed in 1926and came into force on the 1st
June,1927. Although two amending Acts were passed in 1928 and 1942, no major changes
were introduced in the Act till 1947. In 1947, an amending Acct was passed which provided
for compulsory recognition of the representative Unions by the employers, and listed certain
practices on the part of recognized Unions. These provisions of the amended Act, however,
have not been brought into force.


Registration of a trade union is not compulsory but is desirable since a registered trade
union enjoys certain rights and privileges under the Act. Minimum seven workers of an
establishment (or seven employers) can form a trade union and apply to the Registrar for
it registration.
The application for registration should be in the prescribed form and accompanied by the
prescribed fee, a copy of the rules of the union signed by at least 7 members, and a
statement containing
(a) the names, addresses and occupations of the members making the application,
(b) the name of the trade union and the addresses of its head office, and
(c) the titles, names, ages, addresses and occupations of its office bearers.
If the union has been in existence for more than a year, then a statement of its assets and
liabilities in the prescribed form should be submitted along with the application. The
registrar may call for further information for satisfying himself that the application is
complete and is in accordance with the provisions.


The need for recognition of trade unions by employers was felt by the working class to ensure
that appropriate modes of collective bargaining took place and that the agreements, which
were collectively reached, were mutually observed. It was considered that recognition of
trade unions was a step towards securing reasonable levels of pay and working conditions.
This in turn will be achieved if workers stood united in representing their demands through a
trade union, which is adequately recognized.

It was the late 1990s that it was realised that trade unions have become
massive bureaucratic bodies with interests and agendas of those who comprise its
membership. However, there is a growing debate as to the extent to which they represent
and pursue the interests of their members. It is often argued that this is slight and
There are elements in the discussion, such as the argument about whether
it is acceptable to require a level of support from among the whole of a

workforce, in order to be recognized - an idea with history and resonance, which need to
be debated thoroughly.
Trade union recognition works as much in the interests of the employer
as it does in the interest of the worker. The recognition of a trade union has several
repercussions in defending people on disciplinary charges, accompanying members in
meetings with managers and negotiating local conditions of service.
After the passing of the Trade Unions Act, 1926, it may be observed that
from criminal and illegal associations trade unions have now become legalized and
recognised institutions, from institutions which were only very small bodies they have
now become gigantic associations, from institutions that were primarily interested in the
advancement of the cause of their own membership they have now become institutions
which are interested in the social, cultural and political development of the country. This
was a remarkable process.

Recommendations By The National Labour

Commission, 1969
The Commission has, inter alia, strongly recommended that:
(1) trade union registration be made compulsory;
(2) the registrar must be time bound to decide the issue of registration
(3) effective measures must be taken for cancellation if the unions do not comply with
conditions regarding filing of returns or membership;
(4) trade union recognition by the employers be made compulsory by Central legislation
as specified undertakings;
(5) such recognised unions, must be given statutorily exclusive rights
and facilities like right of sole representation, entering into collective bargaining
agreements, holding discussions and negotiations, inspection, check-off etc; and
(6) the minority unions must also be allowed to represent workers in redressal of
individual grievances like dismissal, discharge etc. The suggested measures are likely to
promote growth of healthy and strong trade unionism and eliminate inter-union rivalry to
some extent. Compulsory recognition of one union for one undertaking will make the
unions effective instruments of collective action and give them requisite bargaining

The Maharashtra Recognition Of Trade

Unions And Prevention Of Unfair Labour
Practices Act, 1971
An Act to provide for the recognition of trade unions for facilitating collective bargaining
for certain undertakings, to state their rights, and obligations; to confer certain powers on
unrecognised unions; to provide for declaring certain strikes and lock-outs as illegal
strikes and lock-outs; to define and provide for the prevention of certain unfair labour
practices; to constitute courts (as independent machinery) for carrying out the purposes of
according recognition to trade unions and for enforcing the provisions relating to unfair
practices; and to provide for matters connected with the purposes aforesaid. Whereas, by
Government Resolution, Industries and Labour Department, No. IDA. 1367-LAB-II,
dated the 14th February 1968.

Definition Of Recognition:
A union must be recognised before it may effectively represent any employees. Once a
union is recognised it serves as the bargaining agent for the workers in a particular
bargaining unit. An employee may not circumvent the union, because recognition entails
willingness to negotiate with a view to striking a bargain and this involves a positive
mental decision.

Need For Recognition:

Recognition of trade union is the backbone of collective bargaining. It has been debated
time and again. But inspite of the government stated policy to encourage trade unions,
there is no enforced central legislation on this subject. There are however voluntary code
of discipline and legislations in some states
Definition of Collective bargaining as the performance of the mutual obligation of the
employer and the representative of the employees to meet at reasonable times and confer
in good faith with respect to wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of
employment. absence of any central legislation, management in several states have
refused to recognise a trade union mainly on five grounds:
(1) most of the office bearers of the union were outsiders,
(2) and sometimes, those disapproved by management, particularly politicians and exemployees;

(3) the union consisted of only small number of employees;

(4) there were many rival unions in existence; and
(5) the trade union was not registered under the Trade Unions Act,

Constitution And Recognition Of Trade Unions:

The right to grant recognition to trade unions within the meaning of Constitution of India,
art. 19(1)(c) is a fundamental right or not is answered in negative because the right to
form association does not carry with it the concomitant right that the association must be
recognised by the employers. Hence withdrawal of recognition does not infringe the
fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution of India, art. 19(1)(c).

Conditions For Recognition:

Trade Unions (Amendment) Act, 1947, s. 25D provides that a trade union will not be
entitled for recognition by order of a labour court under s. 25E unless it fulfills the
following conditions, namely:
(1) that all its ordinary members are workmen employed in the same industry or in
industries closely allied to or connected with another;
(2) that it is representative of all the workmen employed by the employer in that industry
or those industries;
(3) That its rules do not provide for the exclusion from membership of any class of the
workmen referred to in cls. (b);
(4) that its rules do not provide for the procedure for declaring a strike;
(5) that its rules provide that a meeting of its executive will be held at least once in every
six months; and
(6) that it is a registered trade union and that it has complied with all provisions of this

Re-Recognition Of Trade Unions

The Trade Union (Amendment) Act, 1947, s. 28H permits the registered trade union
whose recognition is withdrawn under sub-s. (3) of s. 28G to make an application for rerecognition after six months from the date of withdrawal of recognition.

Rights Of Trade Unions In India

The trade union rights in our country are found scattered in various laws,
voluntary measures like the Code of Discipline and the constitutional provisions under
the Constitution of India, art. These trade union rights may be divided into the following
(1) right of freedom of speech and expression which includes right of
picketing and demonstrations;
(2) right regarding the formation and the registration of the trade union;
(3) right regarding the recognition of the trade union by the employers;
(4) right regarding collective bargaining and collective actions;
(5) Right regarding conduct and functioning of the trade union; and

Recognition Of Trade Unions By Employers:

After the registration of the trade union, the question of its recognition by the employer
comes to the forefront in as much as if it is recognised by the employer for the purpose of
collective bargaining, then it will have certain privileges and an opportunity to fulfill its role.
There is no provision in the Indian Trade Unions Act or Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, the
only two central enactments in this respect in the country regarding recognition of the trade
union by employers. No union registered or otherwise may lay claim to recognition by the
management for participation in negotiations as a matter of a legal right.
However it may not be denied that fair play requires the management to consider grant of
recognition when a body of persons legitimately expects to be affected. This right of
recognition has to be secured by the trade unions by raising an industrial dispute. The Code
of Discipline regulates this aspect, though not on a statutory level. The National Commission
on Labour has recommended such a statutory right for unions. Non-recognition of a trade
union for collective bargaining constitutes an unfair labour practice. Provisions has however
been made in the State of Maharashtra by Maharashtra Recognition of Trade Unions and
Prevention of Unfair Labour Practices Act, 1971.

Collective bargaining is concerned with the relations between trade unions (representatives of
workers) and the management (representatives of employers). Bargaining is collective
because chosen representatives of labour and management act as bargaining agents.
Both parties sit at the bargaining table where they deliberate, persuade, try to influence, argue
and haggle. Eventually they reach at an agreement which they record in the form of labour
management contract.

Features of Collective Bargaining:

The essential features of collective bargaining are as follows:
1. Group and Collective Action:
It is a collective process in two ways. First, the workers collectively bargain for their
common interests and benefits. Secondly, the workers and management jointly arrive at an
amicable solution through negotiations.
2. Strength:
It is an industrial democracy at work. Across the table, both parties bargain from a position of
equal strength. In collective bargaining, the bargaining strength of both the parties is equal.
3. Continuous Process:
It is a continuous process. It establishes regular and stable relationship between the parties
involved. It involves not only the negotiation of the contract but also fee administration or
application of the contract also. It means that bargaining is a day to day process.

4. Flexible:
It is flexible and the parties have to adopt a flexible attitude throughout the process of
bargaining since no party can afford to be rigid and inflexible. The special feature of
collective bargaining is that both the parties concerned start negotiations with completely
divergent views but finally reach a middle point acceptable to both. It is, therefore, not a one
way street but a give and take process.

Objectives of Collective Bargaining:

The main objectives of collective bargaining are as follows:
1. To maintain cordial relations between the management and the workers.
2. To settle disputes/conflicts relating to wages and working conditions.
3. To protect the interests of the workers through collective action and to prevent unilateral
action on the part of the employers.
4. To ensure the participation of trade unions in industry.
Types of Collective Bargaining:
There is a great deal of variation in collective bargaining practices. Collective bargaining in
the strictest sense is understood to be the process of a positive give and take between workers
and employers.
According to Richard E. Walton and Robert B. McKersie, A collective bargaining process
generally consists of four types of activitiesdistributive bargaining, integrative
bargaining, attitudinal structuring and intra-organisational bargaining.
(i) Distributive Bargaining:
It involves haggling over the distribution of surplus. Under it, the economic issues like
wages, salaries and bonus are discussed. In distributive bargaining, one partys gain is another
partys loss.

(ii) Integrative Bargaining:

This involves negotiation of an issue on which both parties may gain or at least neither party
loses. For example, representatives of employer and employees may bargain over a better
training programme or a better job evaluation system.
(iii) Attitudinal Structuring:
This involves shaping and reshaping some attitudes like trust or distrust, friendliness or
hostility between labour and management. When there is a backlog of bitterness between
both the parties, attitudinal structuring is required to maintain smooth and harmonious
industrial relations.
(iv) Intra-organizational Bargaining:
This is a type of manoeuvring to achieve consensus with the workers and management. Even
within the union there may be differences between different groups. Within the management
also there may be differences. Trade unions manoeuvre to achieve consensus among the
conflicting groups.
In India, collective bargaining has been classified under four categories.
These are:
(i) Agreements which are negotiated by officers during the course of conciliation proceedings
and are called Settlements under the Industrial Disputes Act.
(ii) Agreements which are concluded by the parties themselves without reference to a Board
of conciliation and are signed by them. Copies of such agreements are, however, sent to
appropriate governments and to conciliation officers.
(iii) Agreements which are negotiated by the parties on a voluntary basis when disputes are
subjudice and which are later submitted to industrial tribunals, labour courts or labour
arbitrators for incorporation into the documents as parts of awards. These are known as
Consent Awards.

(iv) Agreements which are drawn up after direct negotiations between labour and
management and are purely voluntary in character. These depend for their enforcement on
moral force and on the goodwill and cooperation of the parties.

Need and Importance of Collective Bargaining:

Collective bargaining has come to be recognised as a legal and socially sanctioned way of
regulating the forces of power and influence inherent in organised labour management
According to the National Commission on Labour, The best jurisdictions for collective
bargaining is that it is a system based on bipartite agreements and as such superior to
any arrangement involving third party intervention in matters which essentially
concern employers and workers.
Thus, collective bargaining is important for a number of reasons:
1. It is a democratic method for the regulation of the conditions of employment of those who
are directly concerned about them. It is a voluntary process without any third party
2. It results in better understanding between workers and management. The employer gains a
better insight into the problems and aspirations of workers and the workers become better
aware of the economic and technical problems of the industry.
3. It provides a flexible means for the adjustment of wages and employment conditions to
economic and technological changes in the industry, as a result of which the chances of
conflict are reduced.

4. It helps in establishing a code that defines the rights and obligations of each party. Basic
standards are fixed and management cannot take arbitrary actions to exploit workers. It
creates a sort of industrial jurisprudence.
Process of Collective Bargaining:
The whole process of collective bargaining takes place mainly in two stages:
(i) Negotiations
(ii) Implementation
The following steps are involved in the collective bargaining process:
1. Identification of the Problem:
The nature of the problem influences the whole process of collective bargaining. As such it is
important for both the parties to be clear about the problem before entering into negotiations.
The nature of problem influences the selection of representatives, their number, period of
negotiations and period of agreement that is reached ultimately.
2. Preparation for Negotiation:
Negotiations may commence at the instance of either party-labour or management. Both
employers and employees devote a great deal of time to the preparations for negotiation. The
necessary data has to be collected on a number of issues. The personnel department sets the
objectives which are proposed to be achieved through negotiation and which have to be
necessarily related to anticipate trade union demands.
Before the negotiations commence, the approval of the top management must be
obtained on:
(i) The specific proposals of the company, including the objectives of the negotiation.
(ii) The appraisal of the cost of implementing the proposals if they are accepted by the two

(iii) The approval in principle of the demands of the trade union over which bargaining has to
be made; the demands which are acceptable to the company and the demands which cannot
be accepted by it.
3. Negotiation Procedure:
In the first stage, representatives for the negotiation are to be selected. Such persons should
be selected who can carry out negotiations with patience, composure and who can present
their views effectively.
After selection, they should be educated about the problem and its pros and cons. Their
powers and authority during negotiations should be decided. Other preparations include
fixing up time for negotiations, period of negotiations etc.
Usually there will be a chief negotiator who is from the management side. He directs and
presides over the negotiations. The chief negotiator presents the problem, its intensity and
nature and views of both the parties. Then he allows the representatives of both the parties to
present their views. Representatives from both the sides should reach the negotiation table
with positive frame of mind.
They should be attentive to the other partys problems. They should try to find out what the
other party is arguing for.
Then they should try to think about what counter arguments they can present and how to
say no effectively while the other party is presenting its views. By understanding and
weighing the problems of the other party, sometimes a better solution may be reached which
is more acceptable to both the parties.
The collective bargaining generally culminates into an agreement which is known as a labour
contract, union contract or a labour-management contract, which is the end process of
collective bargaining and is a statement of the terms and conditions of service which has been
arrived at between the two parties.

The agreement should be printed and circulated among all the employees so that they know
exactly what has been agreed upon between the management and their representatives. Then
both parties should sign the agreement which in turn, becomes a binding contract for both the
parties; the terms of which must be sincerely observed by them.
4. Implementation of Contract:
According to Prof. Williamson and Harris, If anything is more important to industrial
relations than the contract itself, it is the administration of the contract. The progress in
collective bargaining is not measured by the mere signing of an agreement. Rather it is
measured by the fundamental human relationships agreement. The negotiation of the contract
may have suspense drama of a sort which draws public attention. This is the spectacular side
of collective bargaining. The unspectacular and more lasting and important side in the day in
and day out process which keeps labour and management from the public disputes stage.
The agreement can be made on a temporary basis. In such case, before the expiry of
agreement both parties consult each other and can terminate or renew the agreement
depending upon the circumstances. This may again lead to negotiations. As such, collective
bargaining is not a temporary accommodation, but is a continuous process.

Industrial and labour laws : Prof. Anil P. Sasane
Industrial and labour laws: SC Srivastava
Industrial and labour laws: Avtar singh

Secondary Sources: