Trade Union Movement and Social Justice

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CHANAKYA NATIONAL LAW UNIVERSITY

CONTENTS

I.

Introduction ..5-8 -trade union definition -origin and early history -objectives of trade union

II.

Trade union movement in India..9-16 -phases of trade union -central trade union organizations in India

III. IV.

Trade Union Act,1926..17-18 Importance of trade union and social justice..19-24 -reasons for joining trade unions -functions of trade union -advantages and problems of trace union

V.

Conclusion25 Bibliography26

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CHAPTER I : INTRODUCTIONTRADE UNION Definition Organization whose membership consists of workers and union leaders, and whose principal purposes are to (1) negotiate wages and working condition terms, (2) regulate relations between workers (its members) and the employer, (3) take collective action to enforce the terms of collective bargaining, (4) raise new demands on behalf of its members, and (5) help settle their grievances. Trade unions are generally classified as: (a) Company union that represents interests of only one firm and may not have any connection with the trade union movement. Also called house union, a company union is often a bogus one and generally illegal. (b) General union that represents workers from several firms from the same industry. Also called industrial union. (c) Craft union that represents skilled workers in a particular field such as carpentry or welding. A trade union or labour union is an organization of workers who have banded together to achieve common goals in key areas such as wages, hours, and working conditions, forming a cartel of labor. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labor contracts with employers. This may include the negotiation of wages, work rules, complaint procedures, rules governing hiring, firing and promotion of workers, benefits, workplace safety and policies. The agreements negotiated by the union leaders are binding on the rank and file members and the employer and in some cases on other non-member workers. These organizations may comprise individual workers, professionals, past workers, or the unemployed. The most common, but by no means only, purpose of these organizations is "maintaining or improving the conditions of their employment". Over the last three hundred years, many trade unions have developed into a number of forms, influenced by differing political and economic regimes.

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ORIGIN AND EARLY HISTORY

The traces of trade unions' existence could be traced from the eighteenth century; the rapid expansion of industrial society was to draw women, children, rural workers, and immigrants1 to the work force in larger numbers and in new roles. Trade unions have sometimes been seen as successors to the guilds of medieval Europe, though the relationship between the two is disputed. Medieval guilds existed to protect and enhance their members' livelihoods through controlling the instructional capital of artisanship and the progression of members from apprentice to craftsman, journeyman, and eventually to master and grandmaster of their craft. A labor union might include workers from only one trade or craft, or might combine several or all the workers in one company or industry. Since the publication of the History of Trade Unionism2 by Sidney and Beatrice Webb, the predominant historical view is that a trade union "is a continuous association of wage earners for the purpose of maintaining or improving the conditions of their employment." A modern definition by the Australian Bureau of Statistics3 states that a trade union is "an organization consisting predominantly of employees, the principal activities of which include the negotiation of rates of pay and conditions of employment for its members."

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From other nations 1894 ABS

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OBJECTIVES OF TRADE UNION Trade unions are formed to protect and promote the interests of their members. Their primary function is to protect the interests of workers against discrimination and unfair labor practices. Trade unions are formed to achieve the following objectives: Representation Trade unions represent individual workers when they have a problem at work. If an employee feels he is being unfairly treated, he can ask the union representative to help sort out the difficulty with the manager or employer. Unions also offer their members legal representation. Normally this is to help people get financial compensation for work-related injuries or to assist people who have to take their employer to court.

Negotiation Negotiation is where union representatives, discuss with management, the issues which affect people working in an organization. There may be a difference of opinion between management and union members. Trade unions negotiate with the employers to find out a solution to these differences. Pay, working hours, holidays and changes to working practices are the sorts of issues that are negotiated. In many workplaces there is a formal agreement between the union and the company which states that the union has the right to negotiate with the employer. In these organizations, unions are said to be recognized for collective bargaining purposes.

Voice in decisions affecting workers The economic security of employees is determined not only by the level of wages and duration of their employment, but also by the managements personal policies which include selection of employees for lay offs, retrenchment, promotion and transfer. These policies directly affect workers. The evaluation criteria for such decisions may not be fair. So, the intervention of unions in such decision making is a way through which workers can have their say in the decision making to safeguard their interests.4|Page

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Member services During the last few years, trade unions have increased the range of services they offer their members. These include:o

Education and training - Most unions run training courses for their members on employment rights, health and safety and other issues. Some unions also help members who have left school with little education by offering courses on basic skills and courses leading to professional qualifications.

o

Legal assistance - As well as offering legal advice on employment issues, some unions give help with personal matters, like housing, wills and debt.

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Financial discounts - People can get discounts on mortgages, insurance and loans from unions.

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Welfare benefits - One of the earliest functions of trade unions was to look after members who hit hard times. Some of the older unions offer financial help to their members when they are sick or unemployed.

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CHAPTER II : TRADE UNION MOVEMENT IN INDIADuring the freedom movement, trade unions were patronised by political parties and the freedom movement helped trade unions to be recognised as legal labour organisations to promote the interests of the working class, more especially in the organised sector of the economy. Trade unions during the post-independence period preferred state-led planned industrialisa-tion. The national government also passed a number of Acts with which they codified the roles of trade unions as instruments of collective bargaining on behalf of the workers. Tripartite structures of consultation were created like the Indian Labour Conference, wage boards, Central Industrial Relations Machinery, joint management councils etc. The entire idea was that these institutions should be used to reduce the areas of conflict by dialogue, rather than resort to strikes. In case of failure by dialogue, the government used the instrument of compulsory adjudications, by appointing state as well as national level tribunals. The result was that trade unions felt that the state has given them a respectable place to voice their concerns and thus they were able to extract with the help of the state good amount of power to protect and promote the interests of labour. In other words, this period was marked by a social cohesion between the state and the trade unions to improve the miserable conditions of the working class. Growth and Development of the Trade Union Movement (The Trend) The growth and development of the labour - movement , and for that part of the trade unions, in India, can be divided into following periods, each of them revealing different tendencies that mark it from others. 1. Social Welfare period( From 1875 to 1918)2. Early Trade Union period ( From 1918 to 1924) -

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CHANAKYA NATIONAL LAW UNIVERSITY3. Left- Wing Trade Unionism period ( From 1924 to 1934)4. Trade Union Unity Period ( From 1935 to 1938) 5. Second World War ( From 1939 to 1945) 6. Post Independence period ( From 1947 to date) 7. Present scenario-

SOCIAL WELFARE PERIOD (1875 TO 1918) The most noticeable features' of the period, 1875-1918 - were: (1) Complete absence of radicalism in the labour movement. The methods used by the workers were characterised by a tendency to petition, memorials and seek redress of grievances by mild pressure. These methods reflect the influence of leaders like Naryan Meghajee Lokhanday, Shapurjee Bengali, S.N. Baneijee, and others who were all political moderates and law abiding persons. They were rather social workers desirous to serve the society through amelioration. "With these characteristics," writes Punekar, "the labour movement could hardly tackle such problems as excessive hours of work, few holidays, irregular payment of wages, incompetency of mill managers, inadequate fencing of machinery and the ill-ventilate