ROLE OF TRADE UNIONS IN
Anoop Kumar 08HR012
WHAT ARE TRADE UNION
Trade Union definition:
a trade union is an ongoing association of wage
earners with the purpose of maintaining or
improving their working conditions (Webb and
Dale Yoder has defined trade union as a
continuing long – term association of employees
formed and maintained for the specific purpose
of advancing and protecting the interests of
members in their working relationships.
A trade union is a continuous association of
workers which is formed with the purpose of
protecting the interests of workers.”
Phases of Trade Union
The first phase (1850 to1900)
During this phase the inception of trade unions took place.
During this period, the working and living conditions of the
labor were poor and their working hours were long. Capitalists
were only interested in their productivity and profitability.
The second phase (1900 to 1946)
This phase was characterized by the development of organized
trade unions and political movements of the working class.
Between 1918 and 1923, many unions came into existence in
The third phase began with the emergence of
independent India (in 1947).
Trade Unions at present 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)
Features of trade unions
It is an organisation formed by employees or workers.
It is formed on a continuous basis. It is a permanent body
and not a casual or temporary one.
It is formed to protect and promote all kinds of interests –
economic, political and social-of its members. The
dominant interest with which a union is concerned is,
It includes federations of trade unions also.
It achieves its objectives through collective action and
Better Working conditions
Resist unsuitable schemes
Project Interests of workers
Organisational growth and stability
Structure of Trade Unions
Plant level Unions: The first level in the structure from below
is the plant level union. This comprises the unions in one organisation
Local level Federations:This is the second level in the
structure from below. The local trade union federation holds
together the plant level unions at the local level in a particular
craft and industry.
Regional level federations: These are the organisations
of all the constituent unions in a particular state or region.
National level federations :These are national level
bodies to which plant level unions, local unions or
regional level unions may get affiliated. These are the
apex bodies at the top of the structure. They act as
National Level Federations
Regional Level Federations
Local Level Federations
Plant Level Federations
1. Militant Functions
• To achieve higher wages and better working
• To raise the status of workers as a part of industry
• To protect labors against victimization and injustice
2. Fraternal Functions
• To take up welfare measures for improving the morale
• 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
Functions Of Trade Unions
Criticism of Trade Unions by
•Lack of education
•May not welcome change
•Strike on Illogical basis
•Creation of Artificial scanity of labour
•Undue demands relating to wages
Problems and Weaknesses of Trade
•Multiplicity of unions
•Indifferent Attitude of workers
Suggestions for Healthy growth of
•One Union Per Industry
•Paid Union Officials
•Development of Internal Leadership
•Recognition of Trade Unions
•Improved Financial condition
1. Create Unemployment.
If labour markets are competitive, higher wages will cause
unemployment. Trades unions can cause wages to go above equilibrium
through the threat of strikes e.t.c. However when the wage is above the
equilibrium it will cause a fall in employment.
2. Ignore non Members
Trades unions only consider the needs of its members, they often ignore
the plight of those excluded from the labour markets, e.g. the
3. Lost Productivity.
If unions go on strike and work unproductively (work to rule) it can lead
to lost sales and output. Therefore their company may go out of business
and be unable to employ workers at all.
Problems of Trades Unions.
4. Wage Inflation.
If unions become too powerful they can bargain for higher wages, above the
rate of inflation. If this occurs it may contribute to general inflation. Powerful
trades unions were a significant cause of the UK's inflation rate of 27% in
The benefits of trades unions depends on their circumstances. If they face a
monopsony employer they can help counterbalance the employers market
power. They can increase wages without causing unemployment.
If unions become too powerful and they force wages to be too high, then they
may cause unemployment and inflation
It also depends on whether they cooperate with firm or not on increasing
Industrial relations are the relationships between employees
and employers within the organizational settings. The field of
industrial relations looks at the relationship between
management and workers, particularly groups of workers
represented by a union. Industrial relations are basically the
interactions between employers, employees and the
government, and the institutions and associations through
which such interactions are mediated.
Actors in the IR system
Employers: Employers possess certain rights vis-à-vis labors. They
have the right to hire and fire them. Management can also affect
workers’ interests by exercising their right to relocate, close or merge
the factory or to introduce technological changes.
Employees: Workers seek to improve the terms and conditions of
their employment. They exchange views with management and voice
their grievances. They also want to share decision making powers of
management. Workers generally unite to form unions against the
management and get support from these
Government: The central and state government influences
and regulates industrial relations through laws, rules,
agreements, awards of court ad the like. It also includes third
parties and labor and tribunal courts.
Three key factors to be considered in conducting an analysis of the
Environmental or external economic,
technological, political, legal and social forces
that impact employment relationships.
Characteristics and interaction of the key actors in
the employment relationship: labor, management,
Rules that are derived from these interactions that
govern the employment relationship.
Objectives of industrial relations system
To safeguard the interest of labor and management by
securing the highest level of mutual understanding and
good-will among all those sections in the industry which
participate in the process of production.
To avoid industrial conflict or strife and develop harmonious
relations, which are an essential factor in the productivity of
workers and the industrial progress of a country.
To raise productivity to a higher level in an era of full
employment by lessening the tendency to high turnover and
To establish and promote the growth of an industrial democracy
based on labor partnership in the sharing of profits and of managerial
decisions, so that ban individuals personality may grow its full stature
for the benefit of the industry and of the country as well.
To eliminate or minimize the number of strikes, lockouts and gheraos
by providing reasonable wages, improved living and working
conditions, said fringe benefits.
To improve the economic conditions of workers in the existing state
of industrial managements and political government.
Socialization of industries by making the state itself a major employer
Vesting of a proprietary interest of the workers in the industries in
which they are employed.
The number of industrial disputes in country
has shown slow but steady fall over the past
ten years. In 1998, the total number of
disputes was 1097 which fell by more than
half to 440 in 2006.It is being estimated that
this trend will continue in 2007 as well
Causes Of Industrial Disputes
Wages and allowance: In 2002,
21.4% of disputes were caused by demand
of higher wages and allowances.
retrenchment: The personnel and
retrenchment have also been an
important factor which accounted for
disputes. During the year 2002,
disputes caused by personnel were
14.1% while those caused by
retrenchment and layoffs were 2.2%
and 0.4% respectively.
violence: From the given table, it is
evident that the number of disputes
caused by indiscipline has shown an
increasing trend. In 2002, 29.9% of
disputes were caused because of
indiscipline, which rose up to 36.9% in
Bonus: Bonus has always been an important factor in
industrial disputes. 6.7% of the disputes were because of
bonus in 2002 and 2003 as compared to 3.5% and 3.6% in
2004 and 2005 respectively.
Leave and working hours: Leaves and working hours
have not been so important causes of industrial disputes.
During 2002, 0.5% of the disputes were because of leave
and hours of work while this percentage increased to 1%
in 2003. During 2004, only 0.4% of the disputes were
because of leaves and working hours.
Miscellaneous: The miscellaneous factors include
- Inter/Intra Union Rivalry
- Charter of Demands
- Work Load
- Standing orders/rules/service conditions/safety
- Non-implementation of agreements and awards etc.
Latest Industrial Disputes
(search in Detail for above these Or if if u find
any more cases u can add to it)
A strike is a very powerful weapon used by
trade unions and other labor associations to
get their demands accepted. It generally
involves quitting of work by a group of
workers for the purpose of bringing the
pressure on their employer so that their
demands get accepted
Acc to Industrial Disputes Act 1947, lock-out
means the temporary closing of a place of
employment or the suspension of work or the refusal
by an employer to continue to employ any number of
persons employed by him.
When workers are dissuaded from work by stationing certain men at the
factory gates, such a step is known as picketing. If picketing does not
involve any violence, it is perfectly legal. Pickets are workers who are on
strike that stand at the entrance to their workplace. It is basically a method
of drawing public attention towards the fact that there is a dispute
between the management and employees.
The purpose of picketing is:
to stop or persuade workers not to go to work
to tell the public about the strike
to persuade workers to take their union's side
Gherao in Hindi means to surround. It
denotes a collective action initiated by a
group of workers under which members of
the management are prohibited from leaving
the industrial establishment premises by
workers who block the exit gates by forming
Prohibition of Strikes and Lock-Outs
Employees are prohibited from striking according to the section 22 of Industrial
Disputes Act 1947. Employees, who are working in a public utility service, cannot
go on a strike without giving a notice of strike within the six weeks before
Illegal Strikes and Lock-Outs
A strike or a lock-out is illegal if it is declared in noncompliance with the section 22
(as defined above) of Industrial Disputes Act 1947, that is, if the notice period is not
served or if the strike is held within the fourteen days of issuing the notice of strike. If
a strike or lockout has already taken place and is being referred to a Board, the
continuance of such a strike or lock out is not illegal provided it is in compliance with
the provisions of act.
Penalty for Illegal Strikes and Lock-outs
A workman who is involved in an illegal strike can be penalized with imprisonment
for a term extendable to a month or with a fine or fifty rupees or both. In similar way,
an employer who initiates and continues a lockout is punishable with imprisonment
extendable to a month or with a fine of one thousand rupees or both
Collective bargaining is process of
joint decision making and basically
represents a democratic way of
life in industry
ILO has defined collective bargaining as,
negotiation about working conditions
and terms of employment between an
employer and a group of employees
or one or more employee,
organization with a view to reaching
an agreement wherein the terms serve
as a code of defining the rights and
obligations of each party in their
employment/industrial relations with
It is a collective process in which representatives of
both the management and employees participate.
It is a continuous process which aims at establishing
stable relationships between the parties involved.
It not only involves the bargaining agreement, but
also involves the implementation of such an
It attempts in achieving discipline in the industry
Itis a flexible approach, as the parties involved have
to adopt a flexible attitude towards negotiations.
The collective bargaining process
Measures For Improving Industrial
Strong and Stable Union
Workers’ Participation in Management
Sincere Implementation of Agreements
Sound Personnel Policies
Healthy industrial relations
Reduction in Industrial Disputes
· High morale