Unionization in the Indian Context - Industrial Relations Management

Trade union law and political parties and their strategy are relevant for the process of unionization in the Indian context. The Trade Union Act 1926 states, “Any seven or more members of a trade union may be subscribing their names to the rules of the trade union and by otherwise complying with the provisions of this act with respect to registration, apply for registration of the trade union
under this act.This has resulted in a large number of registered and unregistered trade unions. Another factor is that the major political parties have a federation at the apex or national level to which unions at the plant and state level are affiliated. The organization pattern of a trade union federation is usually three-tired. Units exist at the plant or shop, state and the national level.
National Level Federation
Historically, four major federations have been in existence and have established a national network of federal unions. They are:

  1. The All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC)
  2. India National Trade Union Congress (INTUC)
  3. United Trade Union Congress(UTUC)
  4. Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS)

Of the four, the penultimate one, UTUC, has to a certain extent merged with the Center of Indian Trade Union (CITU)
Other than the above,

  • National Labour Organisation (NLO)
  • Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) and
  • Hind Mazdoor Panchayat (HMP)

are a few having stronger regional affiliations than a national coverage.


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