This Article is written by Nandini kansal (pursuing an LLB specialization in international law from amity university, Noida)
Table of Contents
Trade unions gain prominences during the 19th century with industrialization when production become large scale with modern technologies, workers were forced to work more which turned them towards forming trade unions and to demand their rights from the government and it became the most influential organization that did not involve itself in politics and pressurized the state to from legislation in their favour of that time. The trade union became active after WW1, and in India, the need for union aroused in 1875.
The first trade union of India was set up by NM. Lokhande when the textile and mill industries began setting up at the presidency townships of Bombay, Madras, and Calcutta. The NM.Lokhande formed the Bombay Mill-Hands Association in 1890, which marked the beginning of trade unions in India. After that many trade unions were set up in different states like the Madras Labour by B.P. Wadia in the year 1918 was also the first legally registered trade union.
One of the most important trade unions was Ahmedabad Textile Laborer’s Association which was set up in 1920 under the direction of the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi it was considered important because it resolved the issues between the workers and employer by its distinctive mode of arbitration and conciliation in a peaceful manner. In 1920 International Labour Organization (ILO) that works on trade unions and associations internationally, set up the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) which was the first trade union association to prosper the Indian economy at the international level. AITUC was the highest organization that had set up a provincial and local level which got later connected to individual unions.
WHAT IS A TRADE UNION?
It can be understood as an organization of people who perform labour activities. The trade association or union has the sole objective of making the lives of workers better at the workplace and providing them healthy work environment. The definition of the trade union is the same as the British meaning of the trade union acts of 1871. Section 2 clause (h) defines a Trade union as per the trade union act, 1926 any combination whether temporary or permanent, formed primarily: for the purpose of regulating the relation between Workmen and employers; or Workmen and workmen; or Employers and employees.
Essentials too from a Trade Union are-
- There should be an association of worker and employer
- There should be a prevalent course of business or trade
- The objective of union should be to regulate relations of work
Registration of Trade Union
Trade union act, 1926 was passed mainly to provide a trade union with legal recognition by registering it as per the law, however, the government has not made it mandatory for a trade union to be registered. A registered trade union has various benefits, some sort of powers, and protection which the acts provide but not to the unregistered trade union. The members of a registered trade union are provided immunity in certain civil and criminal cases as per the directions of the act, so it is advisable for a union to get registered.
For registering a trade union there are essentially two requirements mentioned under the Act, section 4(1) there must be 7 or more than 7 members to apply for registration of trade union. The requirement if a minimum of 7 members is kept with an objective to grow and have more participation in the trade union, provided that there are 100 or 10% whichever is less is employed.
And as per section 4(2), any application made under subsection can be held invalid by the reason of the fact that after the application is made and until the registration of trade union is formed the time in between the applicants is not less than half of the members have ceased to be part of the trade union.
Section 5 of the act points out the necessary information required for the registration of a trade union made to the registrar. The application must contain the rules and statements namely-
- Name occupation and address of the applicants
- The title of trade union and address of its head office
- The names, ages, addresses, and occupations of the office-bearers of the Trade Union.
If the trade union has already been in existence for more than a year then a copy of the assets and accountabilities of the Trade Union shall be mentioned therein with the application.
Section 8 of the Act, specifies that if the registrar is satisfied that the trade union has complied with all the requirements of this Act in regard to registration then he shall register the Trade Union
Benefits of registering a trade union
- Trade unions get legal recognization as a registered corporate body that has a common goal and legal head office.
- A registered trade union may sell or hold any property movable or immovable.
- It can be a party to a contract and can also sue others for infringement of its right.
- A registered trade union has certain civil and criminal privileges like – Under Section 17 gives immunity from the criminal liability, Section 18 provides for immunity from the civil liability and Section 19 provides privilege to make agreements in restraint of trade
- No agreement can be held invalid or voidable on the pretext that the agreement or its object is in restraint of trade by the members of the trade union.
Functions of trade union
There were several reasons for the emergence of a trade union but it came with a sole objective that was safeguarding the rights of workers from exploitation. Some of the functions of a trade union are-
- Trade union helps maintain minimum wages and salaries of workers by collective bargaining, mediation, conciliation, and adjudication process.
- It helps in maintaining democratic discipline and harmonious relationships between employer-employee.
- Trade unions help in promoting better working conditions for workers.
- Trade union prevents the harsh policy of the organization so that no worker is victimized by management in the form of arbitrary transfer or suspension by the industry organizations.
- It provides a platform for the worker to express their grievance or any problem facing due to employment.