Under the Trade Union Act of 1926, the term is defined as ´any combination, whether temporary or permanent, formed primarily for the purpose of regulating the relations between workers and employers, or for imposing restrictive conditions on the conduct of any trade or business and includes any federation of two or more unions.µ


Unity is strengths  Equal pay for equal work  Security of service

The main reasons are as follows:  The workers join unions to get economic security.  The unions protect workers and restrain management from taking any action which is irrational, discriminatory or prejudical to the interest of labour.  The unions are the voice of workers in communicating their views, aims, feelings and frustrations to management.  The unions also help workers in getting employment.  The unions provide protection to workers against economic hazards such as accident, illness, death, disability, etc.

Craft union A craft union is one whose members do one type of work, often using specialized skills and training.  Industrial union An industrial union is one that includes many persons working in the same industry or company, regardless of jobs held. It consists of both skilled and unskilled workers.

Cont .. 
General union In this case, all workers are equal and there is no distinction between skilled and unskilled workers. In addition to the above, there could be plant level unions, where all workers in a factory or establishment join hands to protect their interests.  Federations union These are national level entitles to which plant level unions, craft unions, industrial unions and general unions are affiliated.


Wages & salaries Working conditions Personnel policies Welfare Employee ² employer relations Negotiating machinery Safeguarding organizational health and the interest of the industry

‡ Militant or protective or intra-mutual functions ‡ Fraternal or extra ² mural functions ‡ Political functions ‡ Social functions

Organising drive Strike Political pressures Blackmailing

‡ Started with formation of Bombay Mill Hands Association in 1890 by N.K.Lokhands. ‡ 1897 ± Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants ‡ 1905 ± Printers Union of Calcutta ‡ 1907 ± Madras and Calcutta Postal Unions ‡ 1920 ± All India Trade Union Congress (Lala Lajpat Rai) ‡ 1928 ± All India Workers and Peasants parties ‡ 1930 ± All India Trade Union Federation (AITUC split) ‡ 1931 ± Red Trade Union Congress (AITUC split) ‡ 1935 ± RTUC merged into AITUC ‡ 1947 ± Indian National Trade Union Congress ‡ 1962 ± Confederation of Free Trade Unions

The Indian National trade Union Congress (INTUC) The All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) The Hindu Mazdoor Sabha (HMS) The United Trade Union Congress (UTUC) ‡ The Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡


- formed by congress party in 1947
- 3153 affiliated trade unions - total membership over 30lakhs - West Bengal, Assam, Gujarat, Bihar, Maharashtra (strong) - Industries ± textile, jute, plantation, hosiery, transport and mining

- II largest federation of trade union - Over 26 lakh members - affiliated to Communist Party of India - strong in WB, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab Delhi - Basis in engineering, petroleum, building and construction industries

‡ HMS - Labour wing of Praja Socialist Party - Affiliations in railways, cotton textile, coal mining, engineering industries, post and telegraph department of Central government ‡ UTUC - Formed in 1949 by socialist leaders - Objective to establish a workers and peasants state in India - Influences in WB, Bihar, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. - Members from plantation, textile, ports, shipping and agricultural areas. ‡ CITU - formed by CPM members in 1970 - membership of over 12lakh workers. - objective : socialising all means of production, distribution and exchange and establishing a socialist state.


1.Uneven Growth 
Concentrated more or less in major metropolitan cities  Degree of unionism also varies from industry to industry  There is very little trade union activity in small scale sector

2. Low Membership
Though the number of unions and union membership are increasing, average membership is inadequate. Because of their small size, unions suffer from lack of adequate funds and find it difficult to engage the services of experts to aid and advise members in times of need. They can·t bargain with employers effectively on their own

3. Weak Financial Position
This unsound financial position is mostly due to low membership and low rate of membership fee. Trade Union Act, 1926 prescribed the membership fee at 25 p. per member per month. But the National Commission on labor recommended the increase of rate of membership subscription from 25 paisa to Re. 1 in the year 1990. but the Government did not accept this recommendation.

4. Political Leadership
The leadership of politicians is interested in exploiting workers for their political purposes. Strikes are organized and prolonged for personal prestige and negotiations with employers breakdown due to political considerations. The interest and welfare of the workers are very often ignored.

5. Multiplicity of Unions
‡ Multiple unions both at the plant and industry levels are responsible for unhealthy growth of trade union movement. There exist several unionism the same establishment or industry. The existence of this phenomenon can be attributed partly to the domination of outside leaders and partly to the labour laws. Trade unions Act encourages a small sector of workers to form separate unions. Political outsiders establish unions of their own to increase their political influence. In some cases, employers encourage split in unions to undermine their bargaining power.

6. Inter-Union Rivalry.
The state of rivalry between two groups of same union is said to be inter union rivalry. Inter and intra-union rivalries have been a potent cause of industrial disputes in the country, and rivalries are responsible for slow growth of trade union movement in the country.

7. Absence of Paid Office Bearers
‡ Weak finances and political leadership do not permit unions to engage the services of full time, paid office bearers. Union activists, who work on a part-time basis, neither have the time nor the energy to take up union activities sincerely and diligently.

8. Heterogeneous Nature of Labour
Workers come to the factories with varying backgrounds , therefore, it is difficult for them to put a joint front in case of trouble. Employers exploit the situation, under the circumstances, by dividing workers on the basis of race, religion, language etc

9. Lack of Interest
majority of workers do not take interest in union activities. The Attendance at the general meetings of unions is very poor. Under such circumstances, trade unionism cannot be expected to make much progress

10. Lack of Public Support
‡ The general public is adversely affected due to strikes, go slow policy and other practices of unions. As a result , public support or sympathy is not available to the unions. The general public opinion is unfavorable to unions. The general public opinion is unfavorable to unions and their unfair practices.


1. Single Union
The principle of one union in one industry should be adopted to avoid multiplicity of unions and inter union rivalry. This will help in eliminating the problems created by multiplicity of unions.

2. Efficient Leadership
Political leadership has developed due to the absence of internal leadership. Outside leadership is the main cause of multiple problems of the trade unions. These problems can be removed through the development of leadership talents from within. Management should encourage internal workers to lead their own movement. Both managements and trade unions should provide education and training for development of internal leadership.

3. Financial Stability
The financial problems of the unions can be solved by raising the membership and collecting for fees from all the members, the membership fees should be raised as the amount of the wages of the workers increased significantly compared to the situation in 1926 when Trade Union Act provided for the collection of 25 paisa per month per member as subscription fess.

4. Paid Union Officials
Paid union officials should be employed who are persons of proven integrity and who are competent and sincere. They should be able to evaluate workers aspirations and strong enough to negotiate with employers on equal basis

5. Expansion of Union Activities
Unions should widen the scope of their activities and provide certain benefits and facilities to the workers. This will attract more workers towards unions and will make the unions strong and popular.

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