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TRADE UNIONS ACT,1926

Total chapters 5 Total sections 33

MEANING OF TRADE UNION


Trade Unions Act,1926 S.2(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: Provided that this Act shall not affect-(i) any agreement between partners as to their own business;

(ii) any agreement between an employer and those employed by


him as to such employment; or (iii) any agreement in consideration of the sale of the good-will of a business or of instruction in any profession, trade or handicraft.

HISTORY
First cotton mill established in India in 1851 in Bombay and first Jute Mill in 1855 in Bengal In 1875 for the first time factory workers united together for securing better living conditions First factory commission appointed in Bombay in 1875 and first Factories Act passed in 1881 1881 Act proved highly inadequate and another Factory Commission appointed in 1884 Representation submitted to govt. in 1890 reiterating demands of 1884 and it was signed by 17,000 workers

HISTORY
In 1890 Bombay Mill-Hands Association was established Mr.Lokhandey; this was first Labour Association in India under

Declaration of war helped growth of labour movement in India; cost of living increased and lowered standard of living; this led to series of strike waves in 1918-19 By 1920 large numbers of unions were formed AITUC was established

TRADE UNIONS ACT 1926


Passing of Trade Unions Act 1926 was important landmark in Trade Union movement; in addition to giving trade union legal status, registration gave immunity to its members from civil suits and criminal prosecutions

Registration enhanced status of unions in public and employers eyes

RECOGNITION OF TRADE UNIONS


Technically there is no provision in Trade Unions for recognition; In actual practice employers accord recognition to trade unions following procedure contained in Code of Discipline ratified by all Central Employers and Workers Organizations at 16th session of Indian Labour Conference held in May,1958,and negotiate with Trade Unions for settlement of industrial disputes to restore and maintain industrial peace in their establishments;

S.4 MODE OF REGISTRATION


(1)Any seven or more members of a Trade Union may, by subscribing their names to the rules of the Trade Union and by otherwise complying with the provisions of this Act with respect to registration, apply for registration of the Trade Union under this Act.

TRADE UNIONS (AMENDMENT)ACT,2001


Features of Amending Act of 2001 are: S.4 Proviso:Mode of Registration ''Provided that no Trade Union of workmen shall be registered unless at least ten per cent or one hundred of the workmen, whichever is less, engaged or employed in the establishment or industry with which it is connected are the members of such Trade Union on the date of making of application for registration: Provided further that no Trade Union of workmen shall be registered unless it has on the date of making application not less than seven persons as its members, who are workmen engaged or employed in the establishment or industry with which it is connected .'

EXPLANATION WITH EXAMPLE


A registered TU of workmen shall at all times continue to have not less than 10 percent or 100 of the workmen whichever is less, subject to minimum of 7, engaged or employed in an establishment or industry with which it is connected, as its members. e.g. Suppose in an industry there are 2000 workmen. A TU can be registered in this industry if it has at least 100 members as 10% is more i.e. 200. In another industry, there are 60 workmen. 10% will be 6. But minimum no. of members has to be 7.

Important

amendments

in

section

22

of

the

Trade

Unions

Act,

1926

A very important amendment by Act 31 of 2001 took effect from 9.1.02 in sec 22 of the Trade Unions Act,1926.
This section deals with the proportion of office bearers to be connected with the industry. Before amendment, section 22 provided that not less than one half of the office bearers of a TU, shall have to be persons actually engaged or employed in the industry with which the TU is connected. For example if there are 20 office bearers in a TU, at least 10 [could be more] have to be from the industry and 10 could be from outside. This provision has been retained for the unorganized sector unions as per amended sec 22(1). The appropriate government will have to specify which will be unorganized sectors.

A new Sub section 2 of section 22, which has been introduced after the amendment, stipulates that in other than unorganized sector unions, all office bearers except not more than one third or five whichever is less, should be from the industry i.e. outsiders can be office bearers only upto one third of total office bearers or five whichever is less. For instance if the TU has 21 office bearers posts, not more than 7 can be outsiders. Since 7 is more than 5, only upto 5 [ whichever is less] office bearers can be outsiders and rest 16 will have to be from the industry itself. Note: We must remember that the no. for outsiders is maximum and it could be less than that also.

A new Sub section 3 has been introduced to section 22 and this is as under: No member of the council of ministers or a person holding an office of profit [ not being an engagement or employment in an establishment or industry with which the TU is connected] in the union or a state, shall be a member of the executive or other office bearer of the union.

TRADE UNIONS (AMENDMENT)ACT,2001


Election of members of executive and office bearers at an interval of not more than three years

LEGAL CHARACTER OF A REGISTERED TRADE UNION


Registered trade union receives a legal status and becomes legal person According to S.13 every registered Trade Union becomes a body corporate by name under which it is registered and has a perpetual succession and a common seal with a power to acquire and hold both movable and immovable property and to contract and to sue and be sued Registered trade union is granted immunity from criminal and civil liability in certain cases

S.5
Application for Registration to be made to Registrar in prescribed manner

REGISTRATION
S.8 of Trade Unions Act 1926 provides that Registrar on being satisfied that the Trade Union has complied with all the requirements of this Act in regard to registration, shall register the trade union by entering particulars of trade union in a register

ONGC WORKMENS ASSOCIATION V. STATE OF WEST BENGAL


In ONGC Workmens Association v. State of West Bengal (1988) II LLJ (Cal.) it has been held that Registrar of Trade Union has no quasi-judicial authority to hold any enquiry by allowing parties to examine witnesses and to decide dispute as to who are real office-bearers; scope of powers of registrar of trade unions provided under S.8 and 28 of the Act

ONGC WORKMENS ASSOCIATION V. STATE OF WEST BENGAL


The registrar of TU under sections 8 and 28 of the Act is not quasi judicial authority to look into the evidence; the ultimate forum is the ordinary civil court where the parties can initiate proceedings for declaration of rights and to obtain consequential reliefs in accordance with the law;

CANCELLATION OF REGISTRATION
According to S.10 of Trade Unions Act, a certificate of registration of a trade union may be withdrawn or cancelled by Registrar in one of the following two ways: S.10(a):On application of Trade Union(when members of trade union do not want their trade unions to remain registered any longer)

CANCELLATION OF REGISTRATION
S.10(b):At Will of the Registrar(when certificate obtained by fraud or mistake; when trade union has ceased to exist; when trade union has wilfully contravened any provisions of Trade Unions Act; when Trade Union has allowed any rule to continue which is inconsistent with any provision contained in Trade Union Act; when Trade Union has rescinded any rule providing for any matter, provision for which is required under S.6 of the Act;)

MUKUND IRON AND STEEL WORKS LTD. V. V.G.DESHPANDE


In Mukund Iron and Steel Works Ltd. v. V.G.Deshpande, Registrar of TU, Bombay 1986 LLJ 290 Bom. the question for consideration was whether the Registrar has power to withdraw the cancellation of the registration; in this case registration of the trade union cancelled on the ground that it had contravened provisions of S.28 of the Act by failing to send an annual return; the union sent the return and requested restoration of registartion; in view of prayer registrar withdrew the cancellation order; it was held that once Registrar cancels or withdraws registration of a trade union he has no power t review it; hence order of Registrar of TUs withdrawing cancellation order on the ground that union has complied with the provisions of the Act by submitting the necessary annual returns is without jurisdiction

CANCELLATION OF REGISTRATION
S.10(c)Inserted by the Trade Unions (Amendment)Act, 2001: If Registrar is satisfied that a Registered Trade Union of workmen ceases to have the requisite number of members

RIGHTS OF REGISTERED TRADE UNIONS


Chapter III Rights granted to it as a legal person(S.13) Right to spend general funds(S.15)

Right to constitute a separate Political Fund(S.16)


Right to change its name(S.23) Right to amalgamate(S.24)

RIGHTS OF TRADE UNIONS IN RESPECT OF INDUSTRIAL MATTERS


Right of representation of labour before employer, in works committees, before conciliation, mediation and in arbitrations, before courts and tribunals or labour departments SC held in Crescent Dyes and Chemicals Ltd. v. Ram Naresh Tripathi (1993) I LLJ 907 that right to be represented through counsel or agent can be restricted, controlled or regulated by statute, rules, regulations or standing orders

RIGHTS OF TRADE UNIONS IN RESPECT OF INDUSTRIAL MATTERS


Right to negotiate and settle the disputes with employers and sign the settlement and execute them; Right to hold meetings, conferences, post their notices or inspect the places where the members are employed for work Right to accept services of notices, summons, etc. Right to obtain legal aid Right to collect fees on employers premises Right to stage demonstration and strikes

STATUS AND POWERS OF REPRESENTATIVE TRADE UNIONS


In Shivanand Gaurishankar Baswanti v. Laxmi Vishnu Textile Mills and others 2009 1 SCC (L&S) 293 the SC observed regarding status and position of representative union; the learned counsel for the union was held right in submitting that under Bombay Industrial Relations Act, 1946, it is the representative union which has all powers to enter into a settlement on behalf of the workers in the industry and it is only that union which can take a decision under the 1946 Act; the said decision could bind not only the member of the union, but also those workers who are not members of such union; for reaching this conclusion various provisions of the Act were referred to;

Indian Air Lines OfficersAssociation v. Indian Air Lines Ltd. SC held that employees of the organization cannot have any right in policy making; it upheld judgment of DB of HC;

LIABILITIES AND DUTIES OF A REGISTERED TRADE UNION


Duty to make provisions in rules of certain matters(S.6) Duty to constitute executive as required(S.21A and S.22) Duty to spend general funds as required(S.15) Duty to constitute a separate political fund(S.16) Duty to provide access to books of trade union(S.20) Duty to send notice to Registrar in case of every change of its name, every amalgamation, any change in address, dissolution(S.23, S.24, S.12, S.27, S.28) Duty to file returns

IMMUNITIES OF A REGISTERED TRADE UNION


Immunity from criminal liability(S.17) Immunity from civil liability(S.18)

S.17
No office bearer or member of a registered trade union shall be liable to punishment under sub-section (2) of section 120B of the Indian Penal Code in respect of any agreement made between members for the purpose of furthering any object of trade union as is specified in S.15 Section 120B in The Indian Penal Code, 1860 120B. Punishment of criminal conspiracy.--(1) Whoever is a party to a criminal conspiracy to commit an offence punishable with death, 2[ imprisonment for life] or rigorous imprisonment for a term of two years or upwards, shall, where no express provision is made in this Code for the punishment of such a conspiracy, be punished in the same manner as if he had abetted such offence. (2) Whoever is a party to a criminal conspiracy other than a criminal conspiracy to commit an offence punishable as aforesaid shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term not exceeding six months, or with fine or with both.]

S.18
No suit shall be maintainable in any Civil Court against any registered Trade Union or any office bearer or member in respect of any act done in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute to which a member of Trade Union is a party on ground that such act induces some other person to break a contract of employment or it is in interference with trade, business or employment of some other person

S.18
Registered trade union shall not be liable in any suit or other legal proceeding in any Civil Court in respect of any tortuous act done in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute by agent of TU if proved that such person acted without knowledge of, or contrary to express instructions given by, the executive of the TU

DISQUALIFICATION OF OFFICE BEARERS OF TRADE UNIONS


S.21A Person shall be disqualified for being chosen as member of the executive or any other office bearer of a registered trade union if He has not attained age of 18 years He has been convicted by court of India involving offence of moral turpitude and sentenced to imprisonment, unless five years has elapsed(any member who before commencement of Trade Union Amendment Act 1964 convicted for same offence shall cease to be a member unless five years has elapsed since his release before that date)

PROPORTION OF OFFICE BEARERS TO BE CONNECTED WITH THE INDUSTRY(S.22)


Not less than one-half of total number of office-bearers of every registered trade union in an unorganized sector shall be persons actually engaged or employed in an industry with which the Trade Union is connected

CHANGE OF NAME(S.23);AMALGAMATION OF TRADE UNION(S.24)


Any registered trade union may, with consent of not less than 2/3 of total number of members and subject to provision of S.25 change its name; Any two or more registered Trade Unions may become amalgamated together as one Trade Union with or without dissolution or division of the funds of such Trade Union or either or any of them, provided that votes of at least one-half of the members of each or every such Trade Union entitled to vote are recorded, and that 60% of votes recorded are in favour of such proposal

DISSOLUTION(S.27)
When a registered trade union is dissolved, notice of such dissolution signed by 7 members and by Secretary of the Trade Union shall within 14 days of such dissolution be sent to the Registrar, and shall be registered by him if he is satisfied that the dissolution has been effected in accordance with the rules of the Trade Union, and the dissolution shall have effect from the date of such registration

RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE NATIONAL COMMISSION OF LABOR:


Formation of crafts and occupational trade unions must be discouraged. Formation of Industrial Trade Unions and Industrial Federation must be encouraged.

a. Limit the number of outsiders in a union to less than 30% in all types of unions.
b. Treat all former employees as advisors and members.

RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE NATIONAL COMMISSION OF LABOR:


c. Non-employees, including foreign members of political parties, shouldn't be holding senior positions in union management, and shouldn't be given power during important decisions pertaining to the progress of the union.

d. Union leadership should only be comprised of present of past industrial employees, because only employees can understand the needs of other employees.
e. A management's policy of taking unfair advantages of the labour must be professionally addressed and penalized.

f. Workers must collectively bargain directly with senior management, and not have non-members do it for them.

RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE NATIONAL COMMISSION OF LABOR:


A union may be closed down if: a. Its membership falls below a minimum number required for registration. b. Annual returns are not submitted.

c. No explanation is provided for defective returns.