TRADE UNIONS

TRADE UNIONS
‡ Trade unions are formed by workers and exist for them. Their existence is related to fulfilling the needs of those who formed them. ‡ They have a responsibility towards their members in helping them to reconcile the conflict within or among their members.

‡ Workers through their collective actions, ask for more wages, less hours of work, reasonable amenities and humane treatment. ‡ The collective action is through a body called trade union. Thus the trade unions are borne for collective action of workers.

.TRADE UNIONS ‡ Industrialization provides context and location for a union to form. It provides favorable conditions for workers to come into contact. share their common perceptions and to feel solidarity and sympathy for each other. ‡ Unions developed spontaneously wherever the concentration of the working class population in industrial areas led to formation of industrial proletariat.

By their nature trade unions are tied to capitalism and can not bring socialism. .TRADE UNIONS ‡ Marxist view ± Trade unions are revolutionary bodies formed to change societies. The trade unions main responsibility is towards their members. ‡ Rightist viewThese are agencies for discharging special responsibilities. But at the same time influence the politics. and not to firm. ‡ Both the views are not correct. industry or nation.a kind of Police Force. economics and society and are are also influenced by them.

‡ There are many theories regarding trade union movement and they have examined the growth of labour movement from following perspective :  Agent for social revolution  A business institution for economic protection of its members  An agent for achieving psychological aims of different group of workers  An agent for moral or spiritual reforms  An antisocial or destructive mechanism .TRADE UNIONS ‡ The unions are felt needs of those who form them and have objectives assigned to them by their founders. ‡ There are inequalities in every organization and only trade unions can redress them.

TRADE UNIONS ‡ Union Structure and characteristics:  Small coverage: confined to organized sector. coal because of concentration in one particular area. . jute. Even with large organized sector density is low  Large industry level unions in traditional industries like textile.  Weak finances  Reluctance to submit annual returns.  Size of the unions has been decreasing due to fragmentation.  Plant level unions a recent phenomenon.  Multiplicity and politicization due to inter and intra union rivalries.

TRADE UNIONS ‡ Outside leadership: Top level and regional level ± outsiders are more. ‡ Outsiders in developed western countries are professionals. Managements some times prefer outsiders and refuse to discuss the issues with the inside leadership. In such a case outsiders are welcome since it helps in maintaining discipline. Some of them however were downright trade unionists. ‡ In India outsiders have been of diverse type ± politician cum leader to opportunists and also mafia type. . ‡ Unions in India are free from cast and community considerations. ‡ Trade union Act provides that not more than 50% office bearers can be from outside in un organized sector and 33% in others. The inside leaders find it difficult to spare time for trade union work.

AITUC came into existence in 1920. . and 1st Railway work shop in 1840.1850 to World war 1: Synchronization of industrialization and nationalism. ‡ Indian National Congress was formed in 1885. took place in Russia in 1917 and ILO was formed in 1919. first cotton mill in 1854. ‡ First Jute mill came in existence in 1855. By 1880 there were 58 cotton mills. ‡ Post world war 1 to 1947: Growth of industries took place. 1st coal mine in 1820. Controversy between Congress and Communists for supporting the British efforts during war started. ‡ Union membership recorded a 3 fold jump from 1938-39 to 194445. ‡ Madras Carnatic Mill strike led by Wadia ± resulted in passing of Trade Union Act in 1926. ‡ Indian Factories Act 1881 gave impetus to unionization.TRADE UNIONS ‡ History: . Formation of communist Govt. By the time World War 1 ended several unions were set up.

The fourth union was formed by left militant faction and called itself the µUnited Trade Union Congress¶. The traditional industries like Jute. But in many PSUs like BHEL and HMT etc plant level unions were formed. .TRADE UNIONS ‡ Post independence: Workers owing allegiance to Indian National Congress walked out of AITUC and formed INTUC. Socialists did not support either Congress or Communists and formed Hind Mazdoor Sabha. ‡ Unions after late 1960s: Many more unions emerged as a result of political fragmentation. ‡ Indian Unions today: The unionization in different industries has followed a different pattern. The trade unions today are facing competition from themselves. The four main trade union centers drew a code of conduct in 1958 with a view to reduce tension amongst their members. tea etc had industry wise unionization with external leadership. The industries in core sectors like steel and coal followed the same pattern.

‡ Managerial Trade Unions ‡ Employers Organizations . These are:  Structural changes in the work force as a result of changes in technology. distribution of incomes. investment patterns.  Managerial and governmental resistance to further expansion of trade unions.TRADE UNIONS ‡ The unions must understand three set of forces working against them. trade and economic compulsions etc.  Change in attitude of working class which is no longer homogeneous.

the Amalgamated Society of railway servants of India and Burma formed in 1897. the Central Labour Board. India. . political and economic life.TRADE UNIONS ‡ The preamble or Introduction of Trade Union Act 1926 gives the historical evolution of the Act: Trade Unionism has made its headway owing to growth of industrialization and capitalism. the Kamgar Hitwardhak Sabha Bombay formed in 1910. Trade Unionism asserts collectively the rights of the workers. trade unionism is restricted to industrial areas and it is still in a stage of growth. In industrially advanced countries trade unionism has made a great impact on the social. The All India Railwaymen's Federation was formed in the same year and this was followed by the creation of both Provincial and Central federations of unions of postal and telegraph employees. being an agricultural country. After a decade following the end of First World War the pressing need for the coordination of the activities of the individual unions was recognized. Thus. The earliest known trade unions in India were the Bombay Millhand¶s Association formed in 1890. Printers' Union formed in Calcutta in 1905. the All India Trade Union Congress was formed in 1920 on a National Basis. Trade Union movement began in India after the end of First World War. Bombay and the Bengal Trades Union Federation were formed in 1922. the Bombay Postal Union which was formed in 1907.

In March. 1925 was introduced in the Central Legislative Assembly to provide for the registration of Trade Unions and in certain respects to define the law relating to registered Trade Unions in Provinces of India. M.TRADE UNIONS ‡ The origin of the passing of a Trade Unions Act in India was the historic Buckingham Mill case of 1940 in which the Madras High Court granted an interim injunction against the Strike Committee of the Madras Labour Union forbidding them to induce certain workers to break their contracts of employment by refusing to return to work. Opposition from employers to the adoption of such a measure was. then General Secretary of the All India Trade Union Congress. Joshi. Shri N. however. so great that it was not untill 1926 that the Indian Trade Unions Act was passed. Trade Union leaders found that they were liable to prosecution and imprisonment for bona fide union activities and it was felt that some legislation for the protection of trade union was necessary. successfully moved a resolution in the Central Legislative Assembly recommending that Government should introduce legislation for the registration and protection of trade unions. The Indian Trade Unions Bill. 1921. .

but the expenditure of its funds must be limited to specified Trade Union purposes. . and that adequate safeguards are provided for the rights of its members. on compliance with certain stated conditions designed to ensure that the Union is a bona fide Trade Union.TRADE UNIONS ‡ The general scheme of the Bill is that a Trade Union making the necessary application will. No restriction is placed upon the objects which a registered Trade Union may pursue. The Union and its members will thereupon receive protection in certain cases in respect of both civil and criminal liability. The legal position of Trade Unions which do not register will be unaffected by the Bill. be entitled to registration.

and will have perpetual succession and a common seal with power to acquire and hold both movable and immovable property and to contract and shall by the said name sue and be sued. every registered trade union will be a body corporate by the name under which it is registered. ‡ According to the Trade Unions Act. 13. . s. The rights and advantages emanate to a trade union only after registration.TRADE UNIONS ‡ A trade union becomes a legal entity only after it is registered under TU Act 1926. 1926.

after registration under this Act. . The members of the trade union change but the trade union remains unchanged. It becomes an entity with perpetual succession. withdrawal or expulsion and death of individual members do not affect the corporate existence of the trade union. It means that the trade union. the following are the advantages or effects of registration of trade union:  Every registered trade union becomes a body corporate by the name under which it is registered. becomes artificial legal person having its separate existence from its members of which it is composed.TRADE UNIONS ‡ Thus.  An incorporated trade union never dies. The retirements.

the trade union acquires power to contract in its own name  The trade union.  By virtue of its legal personality. 1926 .TRADE UNIONS  The trade union will have a common seal after its registration.  The trade union is empowered to acquire and hold both movable and immovable property in its own name. being a body corporate. may sue and be sued in its own name  The registered trade union is granted immunity from criminal and civil liability in certain cases singled out under the provisions of the TU Act.

 (4) right regarding collective bargaining and collective actions.TRADE UNION RIGHTS ‡ The trade union rights in our country are found scattered in various laws. 19. .  (2) right regarding the formation and the registration of the trade union. ‡ These trade union rights may be divided into the following categories:  (1) right of freedom of speech and expression which includes right of picketing and demonstrations. and  (6) Miscellaneous rights. voluntary measures like the Code of Discipline and the constitutional provisions under the Constitution of India.  (3) right regarding the recognition of the trade union by the employers. art.  (5) Right regarding conduct and functioning of the trade union.

FUNCTIONS OF TRADE UNIONS ‡ Most basic function of trade unions ± to build up its own organization and to give weight to its collective actions. ‡ The other functions follow once the basic function is achieved. Main job is to redress inequalities. ‡ Its other functions may be ±  Economic ± attainment of financial interests of workers  Political  Legal  Welfare  Social .

Some unions also help members who have left school with little education by offering courses on basic skills and courses leading to professional qualifications. like housing.One of the earliest functions of trade unions was to look after members who hit hard times.As well as offering legal advice on employment issues. some unions give help with personal matters.RANGE OF SERVICES BY TRADE UNIONS ‡ During the last few years. . These include:  Education and training . wills and debt. trade unions have increased the range of services they offer their members. insurance and loans from unions.  Financial discounts .  Legal assistance . health and safety and other issues.  Welfare benefits .Most unions run training courses for their members on employment rights. Some of the older unions offer financial help to their members when they are sick or unemployed.People can get discounts on mortgages.

. UK ‡ In some countries like France and India several unions may be recognized in one undertaking. ‡ They may be also termed as bargaining agents. ‡ Union having more than 50% membership ± majority union and union having less than 50% membership ± minority unions.TRADE UNION RECOGNITION ‡ Recognition is a process through which management acknowledge and accept a trade union as representative of some or all of the workers in an establishment or industry and with which it is willing to conduct discussions on all issues concerning those workers. ‡ In many countries there are statutory provisions to compel managements to recognize one union which fulfills recognition criteria ± eg USA.

In Philips and Metal Box. The largest grouping among the elected representatives achieves the right to form core group by appointing office bearers of the union council.workers constituency of 20 ±25 elect one executive council member of an union. . Workers have choice between individuals but not between parties and groups. ‡ Some of the MNCs in India have used various means to ensure single union.TRADE UNION RECOGNITION ‡ The issue of recognition also involves the question of union security ± the ability of the union to hold on to its membership and guarantee against deliberate destabilization.

the union claiming recognition must have bee functioning for one year after registration. the one with largest majority would be recognized.  The union should have at least 15% of employees whom it purports to represent as members.  When an union has been recognized. .  If there are several unions in the industry.. The conditions were ±  Where there is more than one union. ‡ The recognition was left to a voluntary code ±adopted in Indian Labour conference in 1958. it would enjoy that status for 2 years. This was sanctioned by an agreement between Govt. employers and unions.TRADE UNION RECOGNITION ‡ There is no all India law for employers recognition of unions.  The unions observing code of discipline would be recognized.

‡ IR bill in 1978 prescribed minimum membership of 65% . ‡ One difficulty is regarding verification of membership. Even 51% criteria may not help as the remaining 49% could cause disruptions. . Other unions could paralyze the work. No agreement amongst major federations regarding method of verification.the bill could not be passed.TRADE UNION RECOGNITION ‡ This criteria lost its effectiveness after some years as recognizing an union with 15% membership did not help employers.

the first to provide for recognition in certain industries. ‡ State¶s provisions for recognition:  Bombay Industrial Relations Act 1946. Orissa.  Maharashtra Recognition of Trade Unions and Prevention of Unfair Labour Practices Act 1972 ±provides for recognition if the union has 30% of membership. . ‡ Recognition is conditional in MP subject to union providing for a model strike clause in its bye laws. and Maharashtra have also provided for secret ballot. Only Andhra provided for secret ballot for the first time Now West Bengal.TRADE UNION RECOGNITION ‡ Supreme court decision on Food Corporation of India case in 1995 ± called for secret ballot. Kerala.  The method of verification was not provided in any state legislature except till recently.

. Orissa. ‡ Recognition is conditional in MP subject to union providing for a model strike clause in its bye laws.TRADE UNION RECOGNITION ‡ Supreme court decision on Food Corporation of India case in 1995 ± called for secret ballot.  The method of verification was not provided in any state legislature except till recently.  Maharashtra Recognition of Trade Unions and Prevention of Unfair Labour Practices Act 1972 ±provides for recognition if the union has 25% of membership. the first to provide for recognition in certain industries. and Maharashtra have also provided for secret ballot. Only Andhra provided for secret ballot for the first time Now West Bengal. Kerala. ‡ State¶s provisions for recognition:  Bombay Industrial Relations Act 1946.

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