21 Trade Unions, Trade Union Act

Learning Objectives

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  •  define trade union and identify forms of industrial action.
  • explain the concept of trade union.

Trade union is a voluntary organization of workers relating to a specific trade, industry or a company and formed to help and protect their interests and welfare by collective action. Trade union are the most suitable organisations for balancing and improving the relations between the employees and the employer. They are formed not only to cater to the workers’ demand, but also for imparting discipline and inculcating in them the sense of responsibility.
They aim to:-

  • Secure fair wages for workers and improve their opportunities for promotion and training.
  • Safeguard security of tenure and improve their conditions of service.
  • Improve working and living conditions of workers.
  • Provide them educational, cultural and recreational facilities.
  • Facilitate technological advancement by broadening the understanding of the workers.
  • Help them in improving levels of, productivity, discipline and high standard of living.
  • Promote individual and collective welfare and thus correlate the workers’ interests with that of their industry.
  • to take participation in management for decision-making in connection to workers and to take disciplinary action against the worker who commits in-disciplinary action.

Well known Central Trade Union Organizations 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 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)
    • National Mazdoor Union (NMU)

The Trade Union Act 1926

Trade Union” means any 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 conditions on the conduct of any trade or business, and includes any federation of two or more Trade Unions:

Registration. -The Registrar, on being satisfied that the Trade Union has complied with all the requirements of this Act in regard to registration, shall register the Trade Union by entering in a register.

The key features of the act are described below:

Industrial Dispute Act 1947

The Industrial Dispute Act of 1947, came into force on the first day of April, 1947. Its aim is to protect the workmen against victimization by the employers and to ensure social justice to both employers and employees. The unique object of the Act is to promote and to maintain a peaceful atmosphere in industries by avoiding illegal strikes and lock outs. The Act also provides for regulation of lay off and retrenchment. The objective of the Industrial Disputes Act is to

secure industrial peace and harmony by providing machinery and procedure for the investigation and settlement of industrial disputes by negotiations.

The Factories Act 1948

Factories Act, 1948 has been enacted to consolidate and amend the law regulating the workers working in the factories. It extends to whole of India and applies to every factory wherein 20 or more workers are ordinary employed. Since the aim and object of the Act is to safeguard the interest of workers and protect them from exploitation, the Act prescribes certain standards with regard to safety, welfare and working hours of workers, apart from other provisions.

The Employee’s Compensation Act, 1923 –  (Amendment) Act, 2017

The Act applies to any person who is employed otherwise than in a clerical capacity, in railways factories, mines, plantations, mechanically propelled vehicles, loading and unloading work on a ship, construction, maintenance and repairs of roads and bridges, electricity generation, cinemas, catching or trading of wild elephants, circus, and other hazardous occupations and other employment specified in Schedule II to the Act, Under Section 2(3) of the Act, the State Governments are empowered to extend the scope of the Act to any class of persons whose occupations are considered hazardous after giving three months’ notice in the official gazette. The Act, however, does not apply to members serving in the Armed Forces of Indian Union, and employees covered under the provisions of the Employees’ State Insurance Act 1988 as disablement and dependents’ benefit is available under this Act.

    The main features of the act are as per the following:

  1. Dependent[Sec.2(1)(d)] Dependent means any of the following relatives of a deceased workman, namely: 1. A widow, a minor legitimate or adopted son and unmarried legitimate or adopted daughter, or a widowed mother. 2. If wholly dependent on the earnings of the workman at the time of his death, a son or a daughter who has attained the age of 18 years and who is infirm. 3. And any of the following were wholly or partly dependent on the workman at the time of his death—
  2. § a widower, § a parent other than a widowed mother, § a minor illegitimate son, § a unmarried illegitimate daughter or a daughter legitimate or illegitimate or adopted if married & a minor or if widowed & minor, § a minor brother or an unmarried sister or a widowed sister if a minor, § a widowed daughter-in-law, § a minor child of pre-deceased son & daughter where no parent of the child is alive & a paternal grandparent if not the parent of the workman is alive.
  3. Employer[Sec.2(1)(e)] “Employer” includes • Any person or body of persons whether incorporated or not. • Any managing agent of an employer. • The legal representative of a deceased employer. • A person to whom services of a workman are temporarily lent or let on hire.
  4. Workman[Sec.2(1)(n)] Workmen means any person who is: § a railway servant as defined in clause (34) of section 2 of the Railways Act, 1989 (24 of 1989), not permanently employed in any administrative, district or sub-divisional office of a railway and not employed in any such capacity as is specified in Schedule II. § a master, seaman or other member of the crew of a ship, etc § It does not include a person whose employment is of casual nature.
  5. . § A captain or other member of the crew on an aircraft. § A person recruited as driver, helper, mechanic, cleaner or in any other capacity in connection with a motor vehicle. § A person recruited for work abroad by company as is mentioned in schedule ll.
  6. Person to be treated as workmen • There must be a contract of employment. • There must be a relationship of master and servant between the employer and the employee. • The employment is for the purposes of employer’s trade or business.
  7. Employer’s liability to pay compensation (Sec 3) As per Section 3(1) of the act, the following conditions must necessarily be satisfied in order to qualify for compensation: 1. He must be a workmen within the meaning of this act. 2. Personal injury must have been caused by accident. 3. The injury must have been caused by accident. 4. The accident must have arisen out of and in the course of employment. 5. The injury caused by the accident must have resulted in the workman’s death or permanent total disablement or temporary disablement.
  8. Accident arising out of & in the course of his employment • The employer is liable to pay compensation in case of personal injury and occupational disease. • Personal injury includes physical/mental injury, strain or shock caused by excitement.
  9. Incidental to his employment & injured, then arises out of employment An injury could be held to have arisen out of employment if it is established that: 1. It must have resulted from some risk incidental to the duties of the service / inherent in the nature of employment. 2. At the time of injury the worker must have been engaged in the business of the employer & must not be doing something for his personal advantages.
  10. Doctrine Of Notional Extension Of Employment It means when the employer provides the employee with a particular conveyance to and from the place of employment, the employee is regarded as in the course employment even though he has not reached or has left his employer’s premises. CASE:- 1. Harris vs Associated Portland Cement Manufacturers Ltd . 2. Lakshmi Bhai vs Chairman & Trustees, Bombay Port Trust. 3. Dennis Vs White ( Notinal Extension Of Employment )
  11. Disablement Disablement means reduction in earning capacity. It may be partial or total disablement. Ø Partial Disablement § Temporary partial disablement § Permanent partial disablement Ø Total Disablement § Temporary § Permanent
  12.  Temporary partial disablement means that which reduces the earning capacity of the workmen in the employment in which he was engaged at the time of accident. • Permanent partial disablement means that which reduces, for all time, the earning capacity of a workmen in every employment in which he was capable of undertaking at the time. • Total disablement means whether of a temporary or permanent nature, which incapacitates a workmen for all work which he was capable of performing at the time of accident.
  13. Calculation of Compensation • In the case of Death Amount of compensation = 50% of monthly wages ×Relevant factor/Rs.80000 which ever is more.. • Permanent Total Disablement Amount of compensation = 60% of monthly wages ×Relevant factor/Rs.90000 which ever is more.. • Permanent Partial Disablement Amount of compensation = 60% of monthly wages ×Relevant factor. • Temporary Disablement Amount of compensation = 25% of monthly wages.
  14. Employer Not Liable i. The injury does not result in the disablement for a period exceeding 3 days ii. The injury results in death or permanent total disability due to- a) The worker was at the time of accident, under the influence of drink or drugs b) The worker willfully disobeyed any order expressly given for ensuring safety. c) The worker willfully removed any safety devices which he knew would harm.
  15. Contractual Employment(Sec-12(1)) If any employer takes the help of contractor in order to engage some workmen, workmen who are injured are entitled to compensation from the principal. When the principal is held liable for compensation, he shall be entitled to be indemnified by the contractor.
  16. Contracting Out(Sec 17) Any contract where by a worker relinquishes in the right of compensation from the employer for personal injury arising out of and in the course of employment will be null and void. Employer can’t use it as a defence.
  17. Authorities Under The Act(S 19-31) These sections provides for appointment of commissioners for the enforcement of provisions of the act. Sec 20 authorizes the State Government to appoint commissioners under the act.


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