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Historical Development of Trade Union in India

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    HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF TRADE UNION IN INDIA The srcin and development of trade union movements, historical development of trade unions in India, growth of employees and employer’s organizations, aims and objectives of trade unions, definition of trade union and trade disputes, recognition of trade unions are discussed in this chapter. Trade Unions play an important role in the settlement of industrial disputes. The trade unions of employees and employers bargain collectively in solving the grievances of the industrial workers. Before going to discuss the role of trade unions in the settlement of industrial disputes it is appropriate to project the historical background for establishing the trade unions. Not only the workers associations, but also employers’ associations are regarded as trade unions. The worker’s union or association as well as employer’s union have to be registered their union under the Indian Trade Union’s Act, 1926. Therefore, under the existing law the expression “Trade Union” includes both employers and workers organizations. The srcin, growth and development of Trade Union Freedom are determined by multiple concomitant factors and it is not feasible to isolate a single factor from the rest in the context of the reluctant dynamics. In order to have a scientific and rational study of the trade union freedom in India, it is rather imperative to investigate and enquire into various economic, political and legal situations available in some major countries where trade union freedom has now become an integral part of the national main stream. Since, it is a vast subject to deal with the developments of trade unions of each and every country and it is very difficult to do so, the researcher confined to the historical  background of the trade unions to the England only. The Scope of the term “Trade Union” : The scope of the term ‘Trade Union’ has been examined in the case of Registrar, Trade Unions Vs M. Mariswamy, it was contended that Mysore State Employees Provident Fund was not a trade union within the meaning of section 2(h) of the Trade Unions Act of the 1926. Rejecting the contention a single judge of the Karnataka High Court observed that “if the set section is analyzed, it will be cleared that any combination whether temporary or permanent will be a trade union, if it is formed primarily for one of the following purposes: a) to regulate the relations between the workmen and employers;  b) to regulate the relations between the workmen and workmen; c) to regulate the relations between employers and employers d) for imposing restrictive conditions on the conduct of any trade business. The expression ‘Trade Union’ also includes federation of two or more Trade Unions. It is clear from the definition of the expression ‘Trade Union’ that it could be a combination either of workmen or of employees or of both, provided it is formed  primarily for one of the purposes mentioned in clause (h) of Section 2 of the Act. It is therefore possible to have a Trade Union consisting only of employers. The emphasis   # 2(h) is on the purpose for which the union is formed and not so much on the persons who constitute the union. The scheme framed under the Employees Provident Funds Act, 1952 has been referred and interpreted in this case. Trade Union which has been defined in the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 includes Trade Union as well as Federation, Petitioner Unions which the workmen are members and affiliated to the federation working in the field in which the class of industry, the workmen are involved. Therefore, the petitioner union is competent to espouse the cause of the workmen. ã   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. ã   In 1918:-Ahmedabad Textile Labour Association was borned when dispute was settled  by the intervention of Mahatma Gandhi. ã   In Madras B.P.Wadia formed Madras Labour Union ã   International Labour Organization (ILO) was established in 1919,This influenced formation of All India Federation of Trade Unions. ã   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:  ã   A craft unions  is formed by workers belonging to same occupation or specialization irrespective of industry, e.g. Indian pilots, guild, electricians etc ã   Industrial Union is  formed on the basis of industry e.g. cotton textile factories( Rashtriya Mill Mazdoor Sangh) ã   General Union  embraces all workers whatever kind of industry or craft in a place e.g. Jamshedpur Labour Union ! # %&'()#%%* +),- .-,)- / Employees join union for following reasons : ã   Trade unions will protect employee’s economic and vocational interest. As such, it serves as instrument of defence and security. ã   Trade unions look after employees welfare.     $ ã   Trade unions safeguard and improve service conditions . ã   Trade unions will communicate their views to the management ã   Trade union will restrain managerial authoritarianship. It will oppose management discretions. ã   Trade union will strengthen their bargaining power. It is seen as an instrument regulating the relationship between employers and employees. ã   Trade union highlights class distinction to reduce workers dissatisfaction. ã   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 ã   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.   % WEAKNESSES OF TRADE UNION MOVEMENT IN INDIA i.   Multiplicity of trade union as only 7 persons can from a union ii.   Inter-union rivalry 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 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. 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
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