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• According to TRADE UNION ACT,1926,trade union id defined as: • “Any combination whether temporary or permanent formed primarily for the purpose of regulating the relations between workman and employers or between workman and workman or between employrers and employers or for imposing restrictive conditions on the conduct of any trade or business and includes federation of two or more trade unions.”
TRADE UNION MOVEMENT IN INDIA
Social Welfare Period (1875-1918) • The development of industries led to large-scale production on the one hand and
social evils like employment and exploitation of women and child labour and the deplorable workable conditions, the government’s attitude of complete indifference in respect of protection of labour from such evils, on the other.
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The memorial demanded: i. a complete day of rest every Saturday ; ii. Half an hour’s rest at noon; iii. Working hour no longer than 6.30 p.m., which should cease at sunset; iv. The payment to injured worker until they recovered together with suitable compensation, if they are permanently disabled.
The failure of workers’ initial attempts to organize led them to seek the help of philanthropists and social workers who generally came from classes higher in economic and social status.
Early Trade Union Period (1918-1924)
• The year 1918 was an important one for the Indian trade union movement. • The industrial unrest that grew up as a result of grave economic difficulties created by war. The rising cost of living prompted the workers to demand reasonable wages for which purpose they united to take resort to collective action. • The swaraj movement intensified the movement: brought about a mass awakening among the workers demanding racial equality with their British employers. • The success of the Russian Revolution of 1917: created a revolutionary wave of ideas and a new self-respect and enlightenment, and feeling of class-consciousness among laborers. • The establishment of the I.L.O., in 1919: gave dignity to the working class .
Left-Wing Unionism Period (1924-1934)
• In 1924, a violent and long-drawn-out strike by unions led to the arrest, prosecution, conviction and imprisonment of many communist leaders. The rapid growth of the trade unionism was facilitated by several factors, such as:
• The brutal violence and repressive measures let loose by the British government, particularly the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, Rowlatt Act, indiscriminate arrests and imprisonment of national leaders and Satyagrahis,
Second World War Period (1939-1945)
it created new strains in the united trade union movement.
Hence, again a rift took place in 1941 and the Radicals left the AITUC with nearly 200 unions with a membership of 3, 00,000 and formed a new central federation known as the Indian Federation of Labour.
During war-time certain factors helped to enhance the status of the trade unions in the country, namely, The government as well as employers launched a number of labour welfare measures with a view to increase production of war materials and other essential goods and maintain high profits.
Recognition to trade unions was accorded by many employers. This fact gave amoral strength to the unions. Ban was placed on the strikes and lockouts, during war-time.
Present Scenario of the Trade Union Movement
All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC)
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to establish a socialist state in India; to socialize and nationalize means of production, distribution and exchange; to secure and maintain for the workers the right to strike. The Indian National Trade Union Congress(INTUC) AIMS:
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to organize society in such a manner as to ensure full employment and the best utilization of its manpower and other resources; to establish just industrial relations to develop in the workers a sense of responsibility towards industry and the community; to raise the worker’s standard of efficiency and discipline.
Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS)
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Objectives: to establish the Bhartiya order of classless society to assist workers in organizing themselves in trade unions to inculcate in the minds of the workers the spirit of service, co-operation and dutifulness and develop in them a sense of responsibility towards the nation in general and the industry in particular.
Centre of Indian Trade Union (CITU)
The CITU believes that the exploitation of the working class can be ended only by socializing all means of production, distribution and exchange and establishing a socialist state
In the fight for the immediate interest of the working class the CITU demands: (a) nationalization of all foreign monopoly concerns who barbarously exploit the working class; (b) nationalization of all concerns owned by Indian monopolists and big industry who garner huge profits at the expenses of the workers, who exploit the people by pegging prices at a high level and who dictate the anti-labour and anti-people policies of the government.
The CITU fights against the repressive policy of the government towards the democratic and trade union movement.
Functions of trade union
1 . Achieving higher wages, benefits and better condition of services for their members. 2. Increasing resistance power through collective bargaining. 3.Protecting members against victimisation and injustice from the employee. 4.Raising the status of workers as partner in the industry and as citizens of the society. 5. Developing self confidence of workers.
6. Instilling sincerity and discipline in workers. 7.Improving morale of the workers. 8. Secure for workers ,educational cultural and recreational facilities. 9. Promote individual and collective welfare. 10. Offer constructive co operation in improving level of production, productivity. Discipline and high standard of quality in the industry.
PROBLEM OF TRADE UNION
1. Lack of Balanced Growth
Trade unions are often associated with big industrial houses. A vast majority of the working population is without any union backing. The entire agricultural sector is highly unorganized in India. The agricultural workers are subject to all kinds of exploitation. The same is true with respect to those working in small scale and cottage industries. Lack of balanced growth of trade unions in all sectors is one of the major weakness of the trade union movement in India.
2. Low Membership
Trade unions , with the exception of few have low membership. This is because many employees are not willing to join unions although they are ready to enjoy the benefits arising out of the union actions. The reasons for the hesitation of employees to join unions include, among others, the need to take pat in strikes and such other programmes, fear of pay cut and fear of punishment.
3. Poor financial Position
Low membership is one of the reasons for the poor financial position of the unions. Moreover, the subscription payable by every member is kept low. Some members may not even make a prompt payment of the small amount of subscription. These are also not very many sources from which unions can get funds. They may probably depend on contributions from philanthropists. The poor financial position can only weaken the trade union movement.
4. Political Control • Most popular trade unions in India are affiliated to certain political parties. These political parties are only keen on making every grievance of the working class a political issue to attain political gains. As a result the problem only gets wide publicity and remains unsolved.
5. Multiplicity of Unions • Often there exists more than one union within the same industry each backed by a political party. These various unions have conflicting ideology. If one union comes out with a strike proposal another union may work against it. As a result, none of the unions is actually able to solve the problems of the workers. 6. Inter-Union Rivalry • The existence of many unions within a particular industry paves way for what is called interunion rivalry. These unions do not work together for the cause of the workers. Each union may adopt a different approach to the problem. The inter-union rivalry may become a more serious problem of the workers. As a result, the employees are unable to derive the benefits of collective bargaining.
MEASURES FOR STRENGTHENTING OF TRADE UNION MOVEMENT
1.DEVELOPMENT OF STRONG BASE : A strong T.U movement is necessary to safe quard the interest of workers to speed union fund industries for this, it is necessary for T.U to sink their political differences and work unitedly for the welfare of workers. 2. RECOGNITION OF T.U: There should be a low giving legal status to a majority union as a bargaining agent.
• 3.DEVLOPEMENT OF INTERNAL LEADERSHIP: as per provision of T.U act 1926, so % office bea res of a T.U can be outside the national commission on labour has recommended that it should be reduced 25%,and internal leadership is desirable for health growth of T.U .so that actual performance of labour are adderessed the present political influence on T.U movement diverts the attention from the real problem faced by the labour T&D of T.U leadership is also imp. • 4.FINANCIAL STABILITY: most of the problem of T.U is due to the weak financial position. The nao tional commission on labour has recommended that the membership subscription should be raised to rs. 1 per member per month the Indian labour conference requested 1982.that membership subscription should be ducted from wages and paid into the accounts of T.U.
• 5.EXPAINSON OF UNIONS ACTIVITIES.: MOST of the unions are engage in securing economic benefits for their members. No worthwhile activity of welfare social cultural activity are under taken ,therefore unions should widen their scope of activity. • 6.code of conduct: in order to increase co-operation among T.U and minimise t.u rivalry t.u should arird by the code of conduct adopted in may 1958. • 7.PAID UNIONS OFFICIALS: this will enable T.U officials to function effectively.