Trade Unions Prof. Hiteshwari Jadeja
Trade union: meaning Trade union is a formal association of workers for the purpose of protecting and promoting their rights and interests through collective bargaining and actions.
HISTORY OF TRADE UNION • The first trade union was started in 1877 in Nagpur • It was this labour protest on an organized scale, through the support of some philanthropic personalities, that organized labour unions came to be formed • The setting up of large-scale industrial units, created conditions of widespread use of machinery, new lines of production, and brought about changes in working and living environment of workers, and concentration of industries in large towns • The first Factory’s Act was passed in 1881 by N.M. Lokhode • In 1919 Madras Labour Union was the first Union in India to be formed and established by B. P. Vadia • Bombay Trade Union formed in 1975 under the leadership of SorabjeeShapurjeeBengatee
TRADE UNION MOVEMENT GROWTH 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. 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. 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
TRADE UNION MOVEMENT GROWTH Trade Union’s Unity Period (1935-1938) • In mid-thirties the state of divided labour movement was natural thought undesirable and soon after the first split, attempts at trade union unity began to be made through the efforts of the Roy Group on the basis of ‘a platform of unity’. Second World War Period (1939-1945) • The Second World War, which broke out in September 1939, 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 The Post-Independence Period (From 1947 to-date) • As pointed out earlier, when attempts to restructure the AITUC failed, those believing in the aims and ideals other than those of the AITUC separated from the organization and established the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) in May, 1947
Features of a trade union The features of a trade union are • Voluntary association • Common goals • Authority flows from the members • Intermediary • Collective action
Objectives of trade unions • Income security • Job security • Physical security • Social security • Emotional security • Procuring political ability • Fostering industrial democracy and equity
Functions of Trade unions • (i) Militant functions (a) To achieve higher wages and better working conditions (b) To raise the status of workers as a part of industry (c) To protect labors against victimization and injustice
(ii) Fraternal functions • To take up welfare measures for improving the morale of workers • To generate self confidence among workers • To encourage sincerity and discipline among workers • To provide opportunities for promotion and growth • To protect women workers against discrimination
Types of trade unions • Occupational unions • Industrial unions • General unions • White-collar unions
Occupational unions • In this kind of trade union, the union members mostly belong to a specific occupational category. • The primary purpose of such unions is to protect the skill status of their members. • This kind of unions may exist exclusively for technicians, pilots, marine engineers, hairdressers, welders, journalists, freelance photographers, and so on. • The earliest kind of occupational union was the craft union.
Industrial unions • In an industrial union members usually belong to a specific industry. • When the workers belonging to textile or steel industry form a trade union, it is commonly called an industrial union. • The primary purpose of the industrial unions is to promote sectoral collective bargaining. • When a single industrial union represents all the workers of a specific industry, it is a monopolistic union.
General unions • When the unions represent workers from different industries and organizations, they are known as general unions. • A general union may be a single union for the entire working class or an amalgamation of several unions representing workers of different industries. • Such unions are capable of organizing general strikes at the national level by converting the entire working class into one body or federation with maximum consequences.
White-collar unions • The white-collar unions normally focus on employees belonging to a particular industry. • The uniting factor for the workers of white-collar unions is the nature of their job and not their skills. • The employees who perform non-manual job and belong to salaried class often form white-collar unions. • The emergence of the services sector as an important segment of economy and globalization have provided impetus to the growth of white-collar unions in India
Why do workers join trade unions? The reasons for joining unions are • Fulfilment of social and esteem needs • Compulsory membership • Peer group influence • Greater Bargaining Power • Minimize Discrimination • Sense of Security • Sense of Participation • Sense of Belongingness • Platform for self expression • Betterment of relationships
Trade Unions Act, 1926 • Definition • The act defines a trade union as “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 for imposing restrictive conditions on the conduct of any trade or business and includes any federations of two or more Trade Unions.”
Trade Union Act & Amendments • Trade Unions (Amendment) Act, 1947 • Trade Unions Bill, 1950 • Industrial Relations Bill, 1978 • Trade Unions (Amendment) Bill, 1982 • Trade Unions (Amendment) Act, 2001
Trade Unions Act, 1926 • Sec 3: Appointment of Registrar • Govt. is required to appoint a person to be the Registrar of Trade Unions. • Govt. may also appoint Additional and Deputy Registrars of Trade Unions for purpose of exercising and discharging powers and functions of the Registrar as may be specified by order and define the local limits within which they are operate.
Trade Unions Act, 1926 • Sec 4: Registration • Seven or more union members may apply with their names for the registration • No trade union of workmen will be registered unless at least 10 per cent or 100 of workmen, whichever is less, engaged or employed in establishment or industry with which it is connected, are members of such a trade union on the date of making the application of registration
Trade Unions Act, 1926 Sec 5: Application for Registration (i) A Copy of the rules of the trade union (ii) The names, occupations and addresses of members making application (iii) The names, occupations and addresses of the place of work of the members joining union initially (iv) The name of trade union and address of its head office (v) The titles, names, ages, addresses and occupations of the office-bearers of the trade union
Trade Unions Act, 1926 Sec 6. Provisions to be contained in the Rules of a Trade Union (Cont…) • The name of the trade union • The objective for which the union is established • The purpose for which general funds of the trade union are to be applicable • Maintenance of a list of members and adequate facilities for its inspection by office-bearers and union members • Conditions under which any member is entitled to any benefit or conditions under which any fine may be imposed on members
Trade Unions Act, 1926 Sec 9: Certificate of Registration • If all the requirements of the Act are fulfilled and the Registrar is satisfied, he will register the trade union and will issue the certificate of registration
Trade Unions Act, 1926 Sec 10: Cancellation of Registration • On the application of the trade union • If the Registrar is satisfied that the certificate has been obtained by fraud or mistake • If the Registrar is satisfied that a registered trade union of workmen has ceased to have the requisite number of members
Trade Unions Act, 1926 • Rights of Registered Trade Unions • Every registered trade union is a body corporate by the name under which it is registered and has perpetual succession and a common seal with power to acquire and hold both movable and immovable property and to contract, and by the same name sue or be sued
Liabilities of Registered Trade Unions Sec 15: Objects on which General Funds may be spent • Payments of salaries, allowances, expenses to office-bearers • Payments of expenses for the admin work including audit of accounts • The prosecution or defence of any legal proceeding to which the trade union or any of its member • The conduct of trade disputes on behalf of the trade union or any of its members • The compensation of members for loss arising out of trade dispute • Allowances to members or their dependents on account of death, old age, sickness, accidents
Rights & Liabilities of Registered Trade Unions • Objects on which General Funds may be spent (Cont...) • The provision of educational, social or religious benefits for members • The upkeep of a periodical published for the purpose of discussing questions affecting employees or employer • The payment of contributions to any cause intended to benefit workmen subject to maximum of one-fourth of total gross income in the year and the balance of credit of the preceding year • Any other object notified by the government in the official gazette
Rights & Liabilities of Registered Trade Unions • Sec. 16: Constitution of Separate fund for political purposes: • Registered trade union may constitute a separate fund through contribution and used for the promotion of civic and political interests of its members • Election as a member of any legislative body • Holding of any meeting with regard to any such candidate. • Registration of electors • Political documents
Rights & Liabilities of Registered Trade Unions • Sec. 20: Right to inspect books of Trade Union • Sec 21: Rights of minors to membership of Trade Union: • Any person who has attained the age of 15 years may be a member
Miscellaneous Provisions Sec 27: Dissolution of Registered Trade Union • In case of dissolution, a notice signed by seven members has to be sent to the Registrar of Trade Unions within 14 days of the dissolution • If the trade union is dissolved, its funds have to be distributed in accordance with the rules of the trade union
Miscellaneous Provisions • Penalties • If a registered trade union makes any default in giving any notice or sending any statement or other document under the Act, every member of the executive of the trade union is punishable with fine which may extend to Rs. 5 • In case of continuing offence, fine may extend to Rs. 5 for each week but the total amount of fine is not to exceed Rs. 50 • In case any person who wilfully makes or causes to be made any false entry in, or any omission from the general statement is punishable with fine which may extend to Rs. 500
Challenges facing the trade union movement The challenges before the trade union movement are • Declining memberships • Changing profile of Indian workers • Multi-unionism and inter-union rivalry • External leadership • International workers
At present there are twelve Central Trade Union Organizations in India: • All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) • Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) • Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) • Hind Mazdoor Kisan Panchayat (HMKP) • Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS) • Indian Federation of Free Trade Unions (IFFTU) • Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) • National Front of Indian Trade Unions (NFITU) • National Labor Organization (NLO) • Trade Unions Co-ordination Centre (TUCC) • United Trade Union Congress (UTUC) and • United Trade Union Congress - Lenin Sarani (UTUC - LS)
The Indian National Trade Union Congress Origin: The INTUC came into existence on 4th May, 1948, as a result of the resolution passed on 17th November 1947, by the Central Board of the Hindustan MazdoorSevakSangh, which was a labour leader on the Gandhian Philosophy of Sarvodaya Objectives: • To establish an order of society which is free from hindrances to an all-round development of its individual members, which fosters the growth of human personality in all its aspects, and which goes to the utmost limit in progressively eliminating social, political or economic exploitation and inequality, the profit motive in the economic activity and organization of society and the anti-social concentration of power in any form; • to place industry under national ownership and control in a suitable form; • to secure increasing association of workers in the administration of industry and their full participation in that control;
All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) Origin: It was established in 1920 as result of a resolution passed by the organized workers of Bombay and the delegates which met I a conference on 31st October, 1920. Objectives: • to establish a socialist state in India; • to socialize and nationalize means of production, distribution and exchange; • to improve the economic and social conditions of the working class; • to watch, promote, and further the interests, rights, and privileges of the workers in all matters relating to their employment; • to secure and maintain for the workers the freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of association freedom of assembly, the right to strike, and the right to work and maintenance; • to co-ordinate the activities of the labour unions affiliated to the AITUC; • to abolish political or economic advantage based on caste, creed, community, race or religion; • to secure and maintain for the workers the right to strike
United Trade Union Congress (UTUC) Origin: Some trade union leaders of the socialist bent met together December 1948 to form a new central organization of labour, called Hind MazdoorSabha Objectives: • The objectives of the UTUC are: • to establish a socialist society in India; • to establish a workers’ and peasants’ state in India; • to nationalize and socialize the means of production, distribution and exchange; • to safeguard and promote the interests, rights, and privileges to the workers in all matters, social, cultural, economic and political; • to secure and maintain workers’ freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of association, freedom of assembly, right to strike, right to work or maintenance and the right to social security; • to bring about unity in the trade union movement.
Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) Origin: This union has been the outcome of decision taken by the Jana Sangh in its Convention at Bhopal on 23rd July, 1954. Objectives: • to establish the Bhartiya order of classless society in which there shall be secured full employment; • to assist workers in organizing themselves in trade unions as medium of service to the motherland irrespective of faiths and political affinities; • the right to strike; • 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. • The BMS is a productivity-oriented non-political trade union. Its ideological basis is the triple formula: • nationalize the labour; • labourise the industry; • industrialize the nation;
National Front of Indian Trade Unions (NFITU) Origin This union was founded in 1967, with the claim that “this trade union of India is not controlled by any of the political party, employers or government.” Objectives: • to organize and unite trade unions with the object of building up a National Central Organisation of trade unions, independent of political parties, employers and the government, to further the cause of labour and that of national solidarity security and defence of India, and to make the working people conscious of their right as well as of obligations in all spheres of life; • to secure to members of trade unions full facilities of recognition and effective representation of interests of workers and to ensure for the working people fair conditions of life and service and progressively to raise their social, economic and cultural state and conditions; • to help in every possible way member trade unions in their fight to raise real wages of the workers; • to endeavour to secure for members of affiliated trade unions adoption of progressive legislation for their welfare and to ensure the effective environment of the rights and interests of members of affiliated trade unions and for the working people in general.
Centre of Indian Trade Union (CITU) Origin This union was formed in 1970 when as a result of the rift in the AITUC, some members of the Communist party seceded. About the objectives of the CITU, its constitution says: Objectives: • 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, that is, it stands for the complete emancipation of the society from all exploitation. • The CITU fights against all encroachments on the economic and social rights of the workers and the enlargement of their rights and liberties including the right to strike, for winning, defending and extending the freedom of the democratic trade union movement. • 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;