Structure of Trade Unions in India - Industrial Relations Management

Types and Structure of Trade Union In India

In India, the structure of trade union consists of three levels: plant/shop or local, the state and the centre. It is generally from the central level that the ideology of the important central federations of labour in India percolates down to the state and local levels. Every national or central federation of labour in India has state branches, state committees or state councils, from where its organization works down to the local level.

There are two types of organizations to which the trade unions in India are affiliated:

  1. National Federations, and
  2. The Federations of Unions

Here a brief discussion of this trade union form is given.

  1. National Federations:

    The National Federations have all the trade unions in a given industry as their affiliated members. Every trade union, irrespective of the industry to which it belongs, can join a general national federation. Such federations are the apex of trade union policies a national character. The central union organizations are national federations of labour based on different political ideologies. Because of their political leanings, the affiliated trade unions in the field of labour relations follow either a militant policy or a policy of cooperation with the employers and the government, or a policy of continuous strife and litigation. The trade union leadership to these national organizations is generally provided by the politicians. Such leaders are found leading a dozen or more unions in a particular state.
    The national/central federations are empowered to decide the question of jurisdiction of the various local and national unions.

    A majority of these federations allow their affiliates to bargain independently with their respective employers. The federations only act as coordinating authorities for different unions under their control. They also select delegates to represent workmen in international conferences organized by the International Labour Organisation or the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions. The all-India federation of trade unions has a regular structure.

    For example:

    The INTUC consists of a central organization, affiliated unions, industrial federation, regional branches and councils functioning under the direct control or supervision of the central organization, the assembly of delegates, the general council and the working committees.

    The INTUC functions through its affiliated unions, delegates, assembly, general council (including office-bearers), the working committees of the general council and the Pradesh bodies.

    The UTUC consists of the general body (.delegates’ assembly) general council, and the working committee of general council.

    The Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS) works through the general council, the working committee and affiliated organization.

  2. Federations of Unions:

    These are combinations of various unions for the purpose of gaining strength and solidarity. They can resort to concerted action, when the need for such action arises, without losing their individuality. Such federations may be local, regional, state, national and international. There are a few organizations which are local in character, such as the Bharatiya Kamgar Sena, the Labour Progressive Federation, Chennai, the National Front of Indian Trade Unions and the coordinating Committee of Free Trade Unions.

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