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TRADE UNION NOTES – BY CHANDAK SIR

HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF TRADE UNION IN INDIA

• Trade Union formed in 1890, Bombay Mill Hands Association by


Mr.Lokhande to demand amendment of Factories Act 1918. Then several
other unions followed to fulfill specific demands and also to lend support
to national movment.

• In 1918:-Ahmedabad Textile Labour Association was borned when dispute


was settled by the intervention of Mahatma Gandhi.

• In Madras B.P.Wadia formed Madras Labour Union

• International Labour Organization (ILO) was established in 1919,This


influenced formation of All India Federation of Trade Unions.

• After world war I, in 1919, large number of strong trade unions were
formed by Annie Besant in Madras and Mahatma Gandhi in Ahmedabad.
After 1924, all major All India Left-wing Trade Unions were formed for
class struggle.

TRADE UNION STRUCTURE

There are three types of unions:

• A craft unions is formed by workers belonging to same occupation or


specialization irrespective of industry, e.g. Indian pilots, guild, electricians
etc

• Industrial Union is formed on the basis of industry e.g. cotton textile


factories ( Rashtriya Mill Mazdoor Sangh)

• General Union embraces all workers whatever kind of industry or craft


in a place e.g. Jamshedpur Labour Union

WHY EMPLOYEES JOIN UNION ?

Employees join union for following reasons :

• Trade unions will protect employee’s economic and vocational interest. As


such , it serves as instrument of defence and security.

• Trade unions look after employees welfare.

• Trade unions safeguard and improve service conditions .

• Trade unions will communicate their views to the management


TRADE UNION NOTES – BY CHANDAK SIR

• Trade union will restrain managerial authoritarianship.It will oppose


management discretions.

• Trade union will strengthen their bargaining power. It is seen as an


instrument regulating the relationship between employers and
employees.

• Trade union highlights class distinction to reduce workers dissatisfaction.

• To exercise leadership role as office-bearers of trade union. This satisfies


their ambition to get ahead which they aspire.

UNIONS PROVIDE THE FOLLOWING:

a. Job security to the workers / employees.

b. Safeguard workers interest

c. Improve their working conditions

d. Helping employees in developing skill according to the job entrusted them

e. Enable the worker participation in management

f. Protect rights of the workers

g. Helping in maintaining good industrial relations

h. Negotiating with management on industrial conflicts/ disputes

FUNCTIONS OF TRADE UNION

• FUNCTIONS RELATING TO TRADE UNION MEMBERS

1) Safeguard workers interest against explotion by employers

2) Protect workers from unfair labour practices by employer.

3) Provision of health, safe and conducive working conditions.

4) To ask for rewards to be associated with work performance.

5) Get benefits from organization for health, housing, education etc.

6) To help in grievance redressal of employees.

7) To foster labour-management participation and cooperation.

8) To make workers conscious of their rights and duties.


TRADE UNION NOTES – BY CHANDAK SIR

(B) FUNCTIONS RELATING TO ORGANIZATIONS

1) To increase production and productivity.

2) To help maintenance of discipline.

3) To promote cordial relations between the management and workers.

4) To create favourable opinion about management among workers.

5) To facilitate effective communication with the management.

(C) FUNCTIONS RELATING TO UNION

1) To improve financial position by increasing subscription etc

2) To train members in leadership.

3) To augment communication between union and members.

4) To crub inter-union rivalary.

5) To avoid unfair labour practices.

6) To review relevance of union objectives in the context of social


change.

7) To maintain accounts & other administrative records of union.

(D) FUNCTIONS RELATING TO SOCIETY

1. To help national development e.g. family planning, national


integration, afforestration.

2. To launch campaigns against social evils, i.e. corruption,


communalism, cateism, price rise, hoarding, smuggling, dowry,
illiteracy etc.

3. To help and co operate with the government and mobilise people


participation.

WEAKNESSES OF TRADE UNION MOVEMENT IN INDIA

i. Multiplicity of trade union as only 7 persons can from a union

ii. Inter-union rivalry


TRADE UNION NOTES – BY CHANDAK SIR

iii. Intra-union factions / rivalry

iv. Absence of criteria for recognition of sole bargaining agent

v. Politicalisation of trade union and association of outsiders with enterprise


unions.

vi. Philosophy and approaches which advocated

vii. Adversarial relationship (war-fare) conflict with management


viii.Class struggle: oppression and exploitation by employers.
ix. Adoption of pressure tactics, militancy, indiscipline, intimidation, black-
mailing, towards management
x. No role played as social change agents but self-centered

THE TRADE UNIONS ACT 1926

• The Trade Unions Act 1926, is one of the old enactments in the field of
Labour Laws but it is a conservative piece of legislation in as much as it as
it deals only with the registration of the trade unions and legal status of
registered trade unions.The constitution of India confers on all citizens a
fundamental right to from associations or unions.

• The right to form union is thus doubly recognized in India by the


constitution of India and The Trade Unions Act 1926.

What is the objective of the Trade Unions Act?

The limited objective of this Act provide for the registration of the trade unions
and to confer on registered trade unions certain protection and privileges.

What is the meaning of “trade union”

As ordinarily understood the trade union means a combination formed for the
purpose of regulating the relations between workmen and employers. The
definition of trade union given in The Trade Unions Act 1926, however includes a
combination formed for the purpose of regulating the relations not only between
workmen and employers but also between workmen and workmen or between
employers and employers.

What is the procedure for the registration of a trade union?

(a) At least seven members of the trade union have to make an application in
the prescribed form and accompanied by the prescribed fee to the
Registered for Trade unions for the registration of the trade union the
application must be accompanied by a copy of the rules of the trade union
TRADE UNION NOTES – BY CHANDAK SIR

and should give particulars about its name and addresses its members
and officers.

(b) The Registrar if he is satisfied that the trade union has complied with all
the requirements of the Act will register the trade union and issue a
certificate of registration to it

(c) The certificate of registration will be conclusive evidence that


the trade union has been duly registered under the Act.

When there is an exiting Trade Union registered under the name of all
India Trade union congress (AITUC) can the registrar grant registration
to a new Trade Union under the name of AITUC hawkers Union?

Section 7(2) of the Trade Union Act 1926 reads as under if the name under
which a trade union proposed to be registered is identical with that by which any
other existing trade union has been registered or in the opinion of the registrar
so nearly resemble such name as to be likely to deceive the public or the
members of either trade union the registrar shall require the person applying for
registration to alter the name of the trade union stated in the application and
shall refuse to register the union until such alteration has been made
considering section 7 of the Act It will not be possible for the registrar to register
any other union under the name of AITUC hawkers union which is similar or
deceptively similar to the name of All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC).

The government of Maharashtra by notification dated 13-12-2001 has revised


the fees payable under the Bombay Trade Union Regulation 1927 as under-

S DESCRIPTION FEES
R
N Rs.
o.
TRADE UNION NOTES – BY CHANDAK SIR

1 (a) Registration of a Trade union 600


with a membership of 1000 or over
2 400
(b) Registration of trade union
3 with a membership of less than 50

4 1000 25

5 50
Duplicate certificate of registration

Registration of alteration of rules

Inspection of register of trade


union

Maintained by the Register

Inspection of a document in the


possession of the register

Is registration of trade union compulsory?

The Trade Union Act 1926 does not make registration of trade registration of a
trade union compulsory. But it is advisable to get a trade union registered under
the Act because the Act confers many rights on a registered trade union.

Is a trade union required to have a certain minimum membership?

Section 9-A required that registered trade union shall at all time continue to
have not less than ten per cent or one hundred of the workmen whichever is less
subject to a minimum seven engaged or employed in an establishment or
industry with which it is connected as its members.

Can a trade union registered under the trade union Act 1926 be
registered again under the Societies Registration Act 1860 the Co-
operative Societies Act 1912 or the companies Act 1956?

A trade union which is already registered under the trade union Act 1926 cannot
be registered again under the societies registration Act 1860 the Co-operative
societies Act 1912 or the companies Act 1956 and the registration of any such
trade union under any of the said Act will be void.
TRADE UNION NOTES – BY CHANDAK SIR

Can the registrar of trade union register a union of members of the


Armed forces?

The registration of such union initially granted by a mistake can be made invalid
and therefore cancelled.

What is the legal status of registered trade union?

1. A registered trade union is a body corporate having a perpetual


succession and common seal.
2. It has power to acquire and hold both movable and immovable property
and to enter into contracts.
3. It can sue and be sued by its own name
4. Its office bearer or member cannot be prosecuted for criminal conspiracy
for following its legitimate objects
5. No legal proceeding can be filed in any civil court against it in respect of
any act in furtherance of a trade dispute even if such act
6. Induces some other person to break a contracts of employment
7. Is in interference with the trade business or employment of some other
person
8. Is in interference with right of some other person to dispose of his capital
or his labour as he wills.
9. Any agreement between its members is not void or voidable even if its
object are in restraint of trade

Can a trade union represent a workmen engaged or employed in an


industry with which the trade union is not connected?

If the constitution of a trade union does not allow it to represent a workmen


engaged or employed in a particular industry it is not entitled to represent such
a workmen.

Is the immunity from civil suit in respect of acts of a trade union its
office bearer and members available under section 18 of the Act
absolute?

The immunity from civil suit will not be available in respect of acts which are
unlawful tortuous or violent and which fall out umbrella of protection of section
18 of the Act.

In what circumstances the registration of a trade union can be


cancelled?

The registrar or trade union can withdraw or cancel certificate of registration of a


trade union if-
TRADE UNION NOTES – BY CHANDAK SIR

a) The trade union applies for its cancellation

b) The registrar is satisfied that the certificate has been obtained by fraud or
mistake

c) The trade union has cased to exist

d) The trade union has willfully contravened any provision of the Act

By an amendment to an Act , the registrar of trade union is empowered to


withdraw or cancel thee registration of any trade union workmen if it ceases to
have the requisite number of members.

What is the procedure the registrar has to follow before the certificate
of registration of trade union is withdrawn or cancelled?

The registrar has to give to the trade union not less than two months previous
notice in specifying the ground on which it is proposed to withdraw or cancel the
certificate.

What is the scope of the power of the registrar of trade union with
regard to cancellation of the registration of trade union?

The registrar can invoke the power of cancellation of registration of a trade


union only if there is sufficient material before him to establish that the trade
union concerned has committed willful contravention of any provision of the Act
in other words unless the international violation of any provision of the Act is
established the registrar cannot invoke the said power.

Does the registrar of trade unions possess the power to revoke or


withdraw an order of registration of a trade union?

There cannot be a withdrawal or revocation of the initial order of de-registration


of trade union in the absence of any statutory provision authorizing the registrar
to do so.

What are the functions of the registrar of trade unions?

The registrar of trade union performs the following functions

a) Registration of trade unions

b) Withdrawal or cancellation of registration of trade unions

c) Sanction of prosecution for the offence committed under the trade


unions Act 1926
TRADE UNION NOTES – BY CHANDAK SIR

Can a minor be admitted as a member of a registered trade union?

If a person has attained the age of 15 years he can be admitted as a member of


a registered trade union provided that there is no prohibition in the rules of the
trade union on admitting any minor as its members.

Does a person automatically ceases to be a member of the union on


cessation of employment?

There is no provision in the Act providing for automatic cassation of membership


on cessation of employment

What are rights of a members of registered trade union?

Every office bearer or member of a registered trade union has a right to inspect
the books of accounts and also the list of members of the trade union at such
times as may be provided for the rules of the trade union.

Can any person be chosen as an office bearer of a registered trade


union?

For being qualified to be chosen as an office bearer of a registered trade union a


person (i) must have attained the age of 18 years; and (ii) must not have been
convicted of any offence involving moral turpitude and sentenced to
imprisonment, unless a period of 5 years has elapsed since his release.

Is there any restriction on the number of outsiders who can be the


office bearers of a registered trade union?

The act providers that the number of outsiders shall not be “ore than one-third
of total number of office bearers or five, whichever is less.”

Can the recognition of a trade union be withdrawn without giving to


the union opportunity of being heard in the matter?

A refusal to grant recognition and withdrawal of recognition once granted cannot


be placed on the same footing though the grant of recognition to a trade union
TRADE UNION NOTES – BY CHANDAK SIR

may be voluntary recognition once granted to it could not be withdrawn without


giving to it opportunity of being heard in the matter.

Does the registrar of trade unions, under sections 8 and 28 possess the
power to hold any quasi-judicial enquiry?

The registrar of trade unions under sections 8 and 28 can hold only an
administrative enquiry he has no power under those sections to hold any quasi-
judicial enquiry by allowing parties to examine witnesses and allowing such
witnesses to be cross-examined.

Does the registrar of trade union under section 28 possess the power
to decide any dispute between rival office bearers of a trade union?

There is no provision in the Act empowering the registrar of trade union to


exercise any superintendence or control over the internal affairs of a trade union

Is it permissible for a trade union constitute a political fund apart from


its general fund?

It is permissible for a registered trade union to constitute a separate fund for the
promotion of the civil and political interest of its member contribution to the
fund will be optional and no member will be compelled to contribute to the fund
consequently a member who does not contribute to the fund shall not be
deprived of any benefits of the trade union.

Can a trade union change its name?

A registered trade union can change its name with the consent of not less than
two thirds of the number of its member and after following the procedure
prescribed under section 25 of the Act.

Is a civil suit for damages against striking workers maintainable?

The trade union the office bearers and the member are insulated against a suit
or other legal proceeding linked with the strike of the workers the trade union
Act through Section 18, unfolds un umbrella of protection to them.

Does the registration of a trade union confer any right on the said
union to be recognised by the employer?

The registration of a trade union does not confer any right on the said union to
be automatically recognized by the employer
TRADE UNION NOTES – BY CHANDAK SIR

Is it permissible for any two or more registered Trade Unions to


amalgamate?

It is permissible for any two or more registered Trade Unions to become


amalgamated together as one Trade Union. This can be done after the votes of
at least one half of the members of each or every such Trade Union are recorded
at least sixty per cent of the votes recorded are in favour of the proposal the
procedure concerned unions have also to follow the prescribed under section 25

What is the procedure for dissolution of a trade union?

The dissolution of a registered trade union shall be effected in accordance with


the rules of the trade union and notice of the dissolution shall be sent to the
registrar of trade union if the rules do not provide for the distribution of funds
the registrar shall divide for the funds among the members proportionate to the
amounts contributed by them by way of subscription during their membership.

What are the offences under the Act and what is the punishment for
them?

1. If any office bearer of registered trade union makes a default in giving any
notice or sending any statement as required by the Act, he would be
punished with fine upto Rs. 5.
2. If any person willfully makes a false entry in the annual Return of
registered trade union, he would be punished with fine upto Rs. 500.
3. If any person, with intent to deceive, gives an incorrect copy of the rules
of registered trade union to a member or person intending to become a
member of the trade union, he would be punished with fine upto Rs. 200.

Is a Trade Union required to maintain any registers and submit any


returns?

Every registered Trade Union is required to maintain the following books and
registers

i. Register of membership and subscription.

ii. Register of receipts and disbursements.

iii. Minute book of meetings,

iv. Register of stock, tools and plant,

v. Machine numbers & subscription receipt book,

vi. Register of receipts and disbursement for the political fund,


TRADE UNION NOTES – BY CHANDAK SIR

vii. A file of vouchers.

Every registered Trade Union is required to submit to the registrar of Trade


Unions annual returns of receipts and expenditure as well as assets and
liabilities in the prescribed form, by the 30th day of April in each year.

CHANGING SCENARIO OF TRADE UNIONISM

After the liberalization process in the economic system which started in 1990s,
there has been change in the trade unionism too. Such changes are of the
following types and are expected to proceed in the same direction in near
future.

1. There is decreasing attraction of employees from industrial sector


towards Unionism. This is evident by the decreasing number of
trade union membership. In fact, attraction towards unionism is
losing momentum throughout the world.

2. There is increasing depoliticisation of trade unions. This is


happening in two ways. First, many trade unions are not affiliated
to any central trade union. Second, many central unions are
passing control to non-politicians though there is a long way to go.

3. Trade union leaders have become more mature in their approach.


Many trade unions have adopted constructive & co-operative
approach in handling industrial relations, problem rather than
sticking to age-old militant approach.

4. Many unions have accepted the realities of economic reforms. Their


approach has turned to eradicate the adverse impacts of reforms
rather than stalling the reforms as such. Trade union circles now
discuss more about productivity, total quality management, quality
of work life, competition etc, rather than making plans to go for
strikes and other pressure tactics.

5. Trade unions have accepted many new employee management


practices like VRS etc, which used to be bone of contention a few
years ago

There is a possibility to make the company union-free. Employees who joined


unions feel dissatisfied with the union working style . Therefore, management
itself can take certain steps to modify those factors causing dissatisfaction.
TRADE UNION NOTES – BY CHANDAK SIR

The employees value the outcomes for joining or not joining a union and relate
the valuation to their level of satisfaction. In fact, when an individual joins any
organization for his career he does not have in his mind that he would join an
union. He is more interested in his career. This tendency is gaining ground
throughout the world and India is not lagging a behind. The major actions which
an organization can undertake to make itself union free are as follows:

1. Effective first-line supervision.

2. Effective personnel planning, recruitment and selection.

3. Effective training and development

4. Open communication

5. Appropriate remuneration

6. Effective personnel research

7. Healthy and safe working environment

8. Healthy employer-employee relationship

PROBLEMS OF TRADE UNION MOVEMENT IN INDIA

The position of trade unionism in India is not very sound. In fact, the trade union
movement is wanting in many respects. This is because of the fact that the
Indian trade union of today suffer from many problems. A brief account of these
problems is given below:

Uneven Growth

Historically Trade union activities were concentrated in large scale industry


sector and there too in regard to manual labour only and mainly in bigger
industrial centers for example textile workers in Mumbai,Ahmedabad, Indore,
Kanpur and plantation labour in Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala
The degree of unionization varies from industry to industry.

Low Membership

The number of trade unions in India has increased considerably. But this has
been followed by the declining membership per union. Moreover, the rivalry
among the leaders of trade unions has resulted in multiplicity of unions, thereby
reducing the average size of membership per union.
TRADE UNION NOTES – BY CHANDAK SIR

Outside Leadership

Another remarkable feature of trade unionism in India has been domination by


outside leadership. Most of the trade unions in India have professional political
leadership. The leadership is not rooted in the working class. The leadership of
professional politicians is interested in exploiting workers for their political
objectives. The political leadership is actually harmful to the cause of the
working class, strikes are prolonged by political leaders for personal prestige.
Very often negotiations with employers fail due to such political leadership. The
interest and welfare of the workers is very often ignored. Thus outside
leadership of politicians is a major weakness of trade unions in India.

Multiplicity of Union

Another problem of trade unionism in India is that of multiplicity of unions. There


exist many trade unions in the same establishment. There are at times as many
as twenty unions in the same plant. The existence of this phenomenon can be
attributed partly to the domination of outside leaders and partly to the labour
laws .The Trade Union Act 1926 perrmits any association of seven workers to be
registered as a union, and confers upon it certain rights. Such a union is allowed
by law to raise disputes, go to conciliation, files suits, and even bargain with
employers. Such provisions in the law naturally encourage small section of
workers to form separate unions. Any seven persons can get together to form a
union. Many a times, it is contended that multiplicity of unions is because of
outside leaders. But more pertinent point is that they are able to form new union
because law permits and gives sanctity to the small unions.

Intra-Union Rivalry

The existence of multiple unions leads to problem of union rivalry. Unions try to
play down each other in a bid to gain greater influence among workers. In the
process, they do more harm than good to the cause of unionism as a whole.
Employers are given an opportunity to play union against each other. They can
refuse to bargain on the contention that there is no true representative union.
Besides this, the workers own solidarity is lost. Employers are able to take
advantage of infighting between workers groups. Solution to this problem can be
found in secret ballot vote. After some stipulated time period, the workers
should go to polls to elect their representative union for that duration. This
would reduce both multiplicity of union and inter-union rivalry.

Absence of Paid Office-Bearers

Majority of unions do not have whole time paid office-bearers. Many union
activists work on honorary basis. They devote only limited time and energy to
TRADE UNION NOTES – BY CHANDAK SIR

trade union activities. The domination of political leaders is also due to the
absence of full time union workers. The union office bearers are also not trained
properly. They lack the knowledge of basic principles and practices of trade
unionism.

Weak Financial Position

The financial position of the trade union is generally weak because their average
yearly income is low and inadequate . The subscription vary from union to union
and are quite low in most of the unions. Under conditions of multiplicity of
unions interested in increasing their membership. keep the subscription rate
unduly low. As a result, the funds with the unions are inadequate and they
cannot undertake welfare programmes for their members. In such a situation,
the subscription rates may be raised. It is argued that the financial condition of
Indian workers is not too good to afford the increased rates. This, however, is
only a myth. Over the years the average income of the workers has been on an
increase.It is wrong to plead that they cannot afford higher subscription rates for
union membership.

Subscription dues unpaid

Another important reason for the weak financial position of union is that large
amounts of subscription dues remain unpaid. The names of constant defaulters
continue to appear on the membership registers of most of union. They are
neither expelled nor cease to be members. Rules for expulsion of defauting
members are seldom invoked. Besides this,unions do not have proper staff and
organization to collect subscription. A solution to the problem of collection
subscription on regular basis can be found in the check off system. Under this
system, the subscription is deducted at the time of making wages payment by
the employer. The amount is later on handed over union of which the worker is a
member.

Lack of Interest

In order to make the trade union movement succeed, the members of trade
unions should take keen interest in the union affairs. They should understand
what unionism is all about and what demands it makes on individual members.
They must feel the need to give the movement necessary support for a common
cause. The attendance at the general meeting of the unions is very low. Under
such circumstances, trade unionism cannot be expected to make much
progress. This gives rise to another problem that unions ceases to function
democratically. They are run by a few interested persons who at time have their
own axe to grind. This problem can be removed by educating workers of their
rights and duties and developing in them a sense of responsibility.
TRADE UNION NOTES – BY CHANDAK SIR

Limited Stress on Welfare

Many unions in India undertake only limited welfare activities. They only fight
with the employer for more wages and other benefits.

Lack of public support

The trade unions frequently resort to strikes and demonstration . They give
limited attention to peaceful methods for the settlement of demands and
disputes. The general public is affected due to strikes, go slow and other
practices of unions. As a result, public support or sympathy is not available to
the unions.

MEASURES FOR STRENGTHENING OF TRADE UNIONS

1. Development of strong base

A strong trade unions movement is necessary both to safeguard the interests of


the members and to the help in achieving the targets of production. To develop
a strong movement, it is necessary that trade unions with different affiliations
come together on the basis of a common programme covering objectives,
methods, and procedures.

2. One union in one industry

Multiplicity of unions in the same plant leads to inter- unions rivalry which
ultimately cuts at root of the trade union movement. It weakens the power for
collective bargaining, and reduces the effectiveness of workers in securing their
legitimates rights. Therefore, there should be only one unions is one industry.

3. Elimination of Political influence

The linking of unions with political parties is highly dangerous for the healthy
growth of trade unionism in India . It diverts the attention of unions from the
problem of working class. The unions must realize the utter uselessness of party
politics in trade unionism.

4.Development of internal Leadership

It is desirable to switch over to working class leadership from out side


leadership. Leadership should be developed from within the rank and file of the
workers. This will help movement to gain strength in regard to trade union
leadership. The National Commission on Labour (NCL) recommended that:

(1) there should be no ban on non-employees holding the positions in the


executive of the union
TRADE UNION NOTES – BY CHANDAK SIR

(2) steps should be taken to promote internal leadership and given it more
responsible role

(3) permissible limit of outsiders in the executive of the union should be reduce
to 25 per cent of executive members

(4) ex-employees should not be treated as outsiders.

5. Paid Union Officials

Generally, the trade unions avail the services of the honorary workers due to
paucity of funds this practice. In large union set up, it is better to have services
of outsiders with relevant experience.

6. Financial Stability

Most of the trade unions in India are financially weak. This creates various
difficulties before the unions and restricts their activities. The financial problems
of the unions can be solved by raising the membership, and collecting more
contributions from all members