Trade Union Legislation Introduction - Industrial Relations Management

Trade union and their activities were not considered lawful in the beginning anywhere in the world. This was so in India also. Until 1926, there was no law in India for registration and protection of trade unions. In 1920, when a suit was filed against the officials of the Madras Textile Labour Union by Binny & Co., the high court of Madras, following the common law in England, granted an injunctions restraining the union officials from influencing the workmen to break their contracts with employers by striking. Obviously the leaders of the trade union found themselves liable to prosecution and imprisonment even for bonafide trade union activities. It was then they felt that some legislative protection of trade union was necessary. Mr. N.M. JOSHI, then General Secretary of All India Trade Union Congress, successfully moved a resolution in the central legislative assembly seeking introduction of some law by the govt. for protection of trade unions. The employers were so much opposed to any such legislative measures being adopted that the passing in 1926.But this act was enforced only from 1st June, 1927.

Object of the Act

The object of passing the Act was to make necessary provisions in regard to the registration of Trade Unions and to define the law relating to registered Trade Unions. The Royal Commission on Labour in India observed that the object is to give trade unions the necessary protection from civil suits and criminal laws relating to conspiracy in order to enable them to carry on their legitimate activities. The Act extends to the whole of India including the state of Jammu and Kashmir. It came into force on the first day of June, 1927.

Trade Dispute

Trade dispute is the recent unsolved problem between employer and employees or between employer and another employer or between employee and employee while the dispute is concerned with employment or non-employment or the working condition at the work place of a person.

Trade dispute means any dispute between workmen and employers or between workmen and workmen, or between employers and employers. However, it should be connected with employment or non-employment, or the conditions of labour, of any person. ‘Workman’ means all persons employed in trade or industry, whether or not in the employment of the employer with whom the trade dispute arises.

Trade Union

Trade Union 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. It includes federation of two or more trade unions.

Trade Union Section 2(h) of the Trade Unions Act, 1926 has defined a trade union as “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.” Then this definition talks about three relationships. They are relationship between the: Workmen and workmen Work men and employers, Employers and employers.

According to Flippo “A labour union or trade union is an organization of workers formed to promote, protect, and improve, through collective action, the social, economic, and political, interests of its members.”

According to Dale Yoder “A trade union is a continuous association of workers which is formed with purpose of protecting the interests of workers.
Trade union should send an application for registration to the Registrar and shall be accompanied by the following:

  1. Name and addresses of members making the application.
  2. The name of the Trade Union and address of its head office
  3. The titles, names, ages, addresses and office bearers of the Trade Union
  4. General statement of the assets and liabilities of the Trade Union, if the union is in existence for over one year.

The Trade Union can be registered only under the Trade Unions Act, 1926 and
the registration of the Trade Unions under any other Act such as the following shall be void:

  • The Societies Registration Act, 1860
  • The Cooperative Societies Act, 1912
  • The Companies Act, 1956

The registration of Trade Union is not legally necessary but it brings certain
advantages which are:

  1. It becomes a corporate body by name
  2. It can enter into a contract
  3. It attains a legal entity
  4. It can sue and be sued in its registered name

The registrar can cancel or withdraw the registration and can exercise power on Trade Unions for the following issues where:

  • Certificate of registration has been obtained by ffraud or mistake
  • Trade Union has ceased to exist
  • Trade Union has violated any provision of this Act
  • The primary objects of the Union are no longer statutory objects

The Trade Union can request the registrar to cancel their registration after the
approval of the general meeting of Trade Unions or majority of members of Trade Union.

The Registrar must give at least two months notice in writing giving the grounds on which he proposes to cancel the certificate of registration. egistration confers on the Trade Unions certain rights and privileges which are as follows:

  1. Body corporate
  2. Separate fund to political purposes
  3. Immunity from criminal conspiracy
  4. Immunity from civil suit
  5. Enforceability of agreements
  6. Right to amalgamate
  7. Right to inspect books of Trade Union

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