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Susen Varghese

SUBTOPICS :  Definition and Meaning , Characteristics and Functions  Types of TUs  Problems of TUs  Important Trade Unions of India

The Trade Union Act 1926 defines a trade union as a 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 condition on the conduct of any trade or business, and includes any federation of two or more trade unions.

It is an association either of employers or employees or of independent workers. They may consist of :Employers association (eg., Employers Federation of India, Indian paper mill association, etc.) General labor unions Friendly societies Unions of intellectual labor (eg, All India Teachers Association)

It is formed on a continuous basis. It is a permanent body and not a casual or temporary one. They persist throughout the year. 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, however, economic.

It achieves its objectives through collective action and group effort. Negotiations and collective bargaining are the tools for accomplishing objectives. Trade unions have shown remarkable progress since their inception; moreover, the character of trade unions has also been changing. In spite of only focusing on the economic benefits of workers, the trade unions are also working towards raising the status of labors as a part of industry.

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Workers join trade unions to achieve their objectives which they could not achieve individually. Some of these objectives are : Attain economic security. Ventilate workers grievances to management. Inform workers views, aims, ideas and frustrations to the management.

Secure power ` Satisfy their social psychological needs and their needs for belongingness. ` Secure protection from unexpected economic needs like illness, accidents, etc. ` Improve their bargaining power and balance it with that of management

The basic function of Trade Unions is to protect the rights and promote the interests of the workers and conditions of their employment. This can be achieved by : Achieving higher wages, better working and living conditions. Acquiring the control of industry by workers.

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Minimising the helplessness of individual workers, protecting the members against victimization and injustice of the employers. Raising the status of workers. Providing a worker self confidence. Imbibing sincerity, discipline in workers. Taking up welfare measures for improving the morale of the workers.


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UNIONS : Workers of the same craft or category of the job form into a union called as Craft Union. These unions are called as horizontal unions The workers belonging to the same craft do face similar problems mostly non managerial personnel form such unions. E.g. : Drivers Associations, signalling staff Union in Indian Railways.



Industrial Unions, either of same industry or of different industry may form into an association I order to improve Trade Union unity/ strength. Such Unions of unions are called Federations. E.g. Federation of Indian Railways.


UNIONS : Workers of different categories form into a union. These unions are called vertical unions. Workers of the same industry are governed by same rules and regulations and are administered by same management. Such Unions are called Industrial Unions.

Union Rivalry Small size of Unions

Political & Outside Leadership

Low membership Victimization

Poor Financial Position Inactive Functioning

Political Leadership :
The leadership of most of the Trade Unions in India is due to outside leadership mainly drawn from political parties. This is because of the inability of insiders to lead the movement due to : Low education standards. Poor command over English language which is still the principal language for negotiations. Insufficient knowledge of Labour Laws. Unsound financial position. Fear of being victimized. Lack of leadership qualities.

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Union Rivalry :
Due to formation and existence of multiple unions and internal rivalry between them, the very purpose of strength for collective bargaining is defeated. The two main reasons for this rivalry are : Personal conflicts of the political leaders who are also Union leaders. Divide and Rule attitude of the management.

Small size of Unions :

Due to the internal rivalries, bigger unions disintegrate and form countless smaller unions.

Financial Position :
Size of unions often determines their strength and financial soundness. The primary source of income of Trade Unions is their membership fees, but since there are very few members, their finances are less and hence affect their activities. This leads to Inactive functioning Hence resulting in victimization Which is why the Trade Unions require political help. And hence the series of problems continue..

The following are some of the methods to strengthen Trade Unions : ` United Labour force with ONE objective, policy and programme. ` Developing efficient leaders. ` Raising membership fees. ` Keeping transactions ethical and transparent ` Amend the Trade Union Act.

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Some of the important and well known Indian Trade Unions were: AITUC - All India Trade Union Congress - 1920 INTUC - Indian National Trade Union Congress - 1947 HMS Hind Mazdoor Sabha UTUC United Trade Unions Congress CITU Centre of Indian Trade Unions BMS Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh NFITU National Front of Indian Trade Unions TUCC Trade Union Co ordination Centre NLO National Labour Organization


SUBTOPICS :  Definition  Pre Requisites  Process  Characteristics  Importance, Advantages & Functions

Collective Bargaining is a process of discussion and negotiation between two parties, one or both of whom is acting in concent. More specifically it is a procedure by which employers and a group of employees agree upon some of the conditions of work while compromising on some others.

Pre - Requisites for Collective Bargaining


Freedom of association for employers and employees. Mutual trust and confidence between parties. Parties must avoid using unfair practices. Parity of strength between both parties.

Pre - Requisites for Collective Bargaining


Right of employees to strike must be recognized. Both parties should have representatives duly authorized to make decisions.

Process Of Collective Bargaining

Union Claim Management Proposal

Negotiations Revision / Renewal 3rd Party Referral Collective Agreement

Process Of Collective Bargaining

Collective Bargaining is a process which broadly consists of the following steps :  Negotiation of Agreement: At this stage, certain proposals are put forward which pave the way to mutual acceptance after careful deliberation and consideration (negotiations). For this both parties have to justify their respective stands and be cooperative.

Process Of Collective Bargaining

Implementation of Agreement: After Negotiation when both parties reach an agreement they sign a contract. The contract signed should be printed and circulated amongst employees so that they know exactly what the terms of agreement are. Arrangements should then be made by both parties to abide by their problems. However during this course certain unforeseen problems may arise. This leads to the next step in the process of Collective Bargaining.

Process Of Collective Bargaining

Renewal / Revision of Agreement: To solve the problems arising from the new agreements, provisions are generally made in the contract for revising it. This will again lead to negotiations for the new demands and may result in a new contract. However if there are no problems with the original contract then it can simply be renewed.



A group or collective action as opposed to individual actions and initiated through the representatives of employees. Flexible and not static. Two way process, it is successful only when two parties participate with a give and take approach. Is dynamic as this concept is growing, expanding and changing in view of attitudes, opinions and perceptions of both parties.


Ensures democracy at work place. Not a competitive process but a complementary process. An art, an advanced form of Human Relations. Voluntary process accepted by both the Management and the Union. The Most unique feature is that both parties start bargaining with entirely divergent issues and reach a middle point.

Importance, Advantages & Functions


Increases economic strength of unions. Establishes uniform conditions of work. Ensures prompt and fair redressal of grievances. Avoids conflicts, strikes lock outs, etc. thus avoiding interruptions in work. Achieves efficient operation of plant.

Importance, Advantages & Functions

Promotes stability and prosperity of industry.

Lays down fair wages and working norms.  Is a flexible means of reaching a solution.  Acts as a vehicle of peace, *********