Trade Unions

An organisation formed by trade workers that work for their common interest is Trade Union. Basically their aim is to work for their common interest and show it to the management. It was the year 1890, when for the first time the association of mill workers was formed in the name of Bombay Millhands Association. Success of strikes in India leads to impetus in the Trade Union. In India, the establishment of international labour organizations has also influenced the growth of trade union movement.

Democratic ideas and lack of education are still being developed in Indian workers. Trade Unions help workers in issues such as payment, working environment, hours of work, their benefits including management. It acts as a medium of communication between workers and management. The Indian Trade Union Act, 1926 deals and controls the mechanisms of trade unions. According to the reports there are many employees and they are the resource of our country. Many employees are helpless in front of management. This law gives employees a number of privileges. This is because it needs to be safeguarded. According to law all registered trade unions have some functions and objectives to follow. Trade unions are governed by different laws in different countries. Its primary purpose is collective bargaining.

Types of Trade Union

  1. Industrial Unions

 A labour union in which all workers in the same industry are into the same union according to their skill is the Industrial Union.

  1. Craft Unions

This kind of trade unions refers to workers with specific skills such as plumbers, carpenters, etc. Basically they are doing the same kind of work.

  1. General Unions

This kind of trade Unions refers to the workers with many skills and from many Industries.

  1. White Collar Unions

This kind of trade union refers to the workers of specific professions such as teachers, etc.

  1. Blue Collar Unions

It represents the workers who do hard labour such as farmers, manufacturing, construction, mining, etc. It represents a physically exhausting task.

  1. Reformist Unions

The forms of Unions aim to preserve the capitalist economy. They continue social, economic and political structures.

Collective Bargaining

Collective Bargaining involves the process of negotiation, drafting, administration, interpretation of documents, organizational trade unions. It maybe in either of the below described forms –

-Single plant Bargaining

This is the bargaining between single employer and single union.

-Multiple plants Bargaining

This is the bargaining between workers with common employers through different unions.

-Multiple employers Bargaining

This is the bargaining between all unions of the same industry with employers’ federation.

Role of Unions

It has many functions. They talk on behalf of their members on working hours, payment, working environment, holidays, health safety, security, maternity, etc. They also provide information on issues related to them such as pension. They help to educate, etc. It also provides some benefit to the workers such as sickness pay.

Registration of Trade Unions

The registered trade unions enjoy some rights and  privilege under the law. To form a trade union it requires at least 7 employers and to apply for registration. It is not compulsory to register the trade unions. The application is a form and accomplished by prescribed fee, a set of rules and should be signed by at least 7 members containing :-

  1.     Name
  2.     Address
  3.     Occupation of the members
  4.     Name of the trade unions and address
  5.     Titles, name, age, address of office bearers.

 Rights of Registered Trade Union

The funds of registered Trade Union should not be spent on any other things other than:-

  1. The salaries payment and expenses to office- bearers of the Trade Unions.
  2. The payment of expenses for the Trade Union administration.
  3. The trade disputes conduct by any member of trade Union on its behalf
  4. The compensation of members for loss due to trade disputes.
  5. The educational, social or religious benefits for members.
  6. The purposes of discussing questions affecting employees.

Change of name of Trade Unions

  1. Registered trade union can change its name with consent of at least 2/3rd of the total numbers of its members.
  2. To change its name a notice signed by the secretary and 7 members should be sent to the registrar.
  3. If the change in name is not identical with the name of another union and satisfies the registrar then it shall register the change.
  4. Rights and obligations of the Trade Union shall not be affected after changing the name of the Trade Union.

Change of Registered Office

If any registered union wants to change its office then notice of change of address should be given to the Registrar in writing within 14 days of such change.

 Office Bearers

Office bearers is a person who holds a position in any organisation. There are many positions of office bearers.

Appointment of Office Bearers

50 percent of the office bearers of a trade union should be employed in the industry with which the trade union is concerned and all remaining 5p percent can be outsiders such as politicians, social workers, lawyers, etc.

A person who wants to be appointed as office bearers should be of at least 18 years or above age and he/she is not convicted for any offence involving imprisonment, etc.

Disqualification of Office Bearers of Trade Union

If a person has not attained the age of 18 years or convicted by court then he or she shall be disqualified from it at the time of choosing it or afterwards.

 Office bearers consist of a chairperson, vice chair, secretary, Treasurer and committee members.


The chairperson directs committee meetings and works for group interests. He/She is responsible for making tasks. He prepares agenda, delegate tasks, represents groups, prevents and promotes consensus, knows the constitution etc and he should always have a dairy, appropriate paperwork, pen, watch or clock, chairperson hammer, etc.


The vice chair person represents the chairperson in their absence and works on his behalf.


Secretary of a committee prepares an agenda with the chairperson, arranges the venue for meetings, sends notices of meetings, keeps approved time and date for meetings, attends the incoming meetings, and keeps records of everything. He also distributes information to the members.


The treasury checks the group’s income and keeps the finances upto date and is responsible for it. He should prepare a financial report before each meeting. He also advises the group on the amount of money available.

The Committee Members

The committee members should attend meetings, arrive prepared, work as a team, discourage donations, vote for issues, assist with fundraising, stick to decisions, etc.

Case Laws

Oil and Natural Gas Corporation v. Krishnan Gopal (2020)

The court held that in order to set the position in law which adopts in conformity with the principals emerging from the castion line of precedent the decision in PCLU needs to be revisited.[1]

JK Jute Mill Mazdoor Morcha V. Juggilal Kamlapat Jute Mills Company Ltd. through its Director (2019)

The court held that there is no doubt that a registered trade union can maintain a petition as an operational creditor on behalf of its members. We must not forget that procedure is a handmaid of justice and is meant to serve justice.[2]

 Federation of Bank of India Staff Union v. Union of India (2019)

It was found that there is no good ground to interfere with the reasoning High Court dismissed the appellants writ petition and upheld the scheme as legal.[3]

All Escorts Employees Union v. State of Haryana & Ors (2018)

The application praying for recall of the findings recorded were dismissed as the workers of Yamaha had formed their own separate union; it was not necessary to deal with the issue raised in these appeals as the issue does not survive.[4]


A variety of problems is suffered by trade unions such as financial problems, political problems, membership problems, etc. These problems adversely affect the unions as well as the members and workers. These trade unions improve the lifestyle of workers such as hygiene, education, financial aid, etc. Strong unions set a pay standard that non union employers follow. Even unionized workers get pension plans and medical leave. Unions play a vital role in securing the life of labour and workers. The research literally finds that unionized workers are more valued than non unionized workers. Since union has a greater impact on benefit than wages. Unionism affects individual firms and the economy. Union not only improves workers and laborers benefits but also the economy.


  1. 131 SC 2020.
  2. 446 SC 2019.
  3. 206 SC 2019.
  4. 201 SC 2018.


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