According to Section 2(b) of the Trade Unions Act of 1926, “a trade union is any combination of persons, whether temporary or permanent, primarily for the purpose of regulating the relations between workers and employers, or between workers and workers and for imposing restrictive conditions on the conduct on the conduct of any trade or business, and includes the federation of two or more trade unions.”

 Nature of Trade Unions

Trade unions are voluntary organizations of workers or employers formed to promote and protect their interests through collective action. The Trade Unions Act, 1926 defines a trade union as a combination, whether temporary or permanent, formed –

  1. Primarily for the purpose of regulating the relation between
  2. Workmen and employers or
  3. Between workmen and workmen, or
  4. Between employers and employers, or
  5. For imposing restrictive conditions on the conduct of any trade or business, and includes any federation of two or, more trade unions.

An analysis of the above definition reveals that trade union must be:

  1. A combination of workers or employers,
  2. Such a combination could be permanent or temporary,
  3. Could include federation of two or more unions

Trade Unions in India are registered and file annual returns under the Trade Union Act (1926). Its statistics are collected annually by the Labour Bureau of the Ministry of Labour, Government of India. Chapter II of the Trade Unions Act, 1926 deals with the provisions of the registration of trade unions.

The procedure of registration of a trade union as following –

Appointment of Registrar:

Section 3 of the Trade Union Act, 1926 empowers the appropriate Government to appoint a person to be registrar of Trade Unions. The appropriate Government be it State or Central, as the case may be is also empowered to appoint additional and Deputy Registrars as it thinks fit for the purpose of exercising and discharging the powers and duties of the Registrar. However, such person will work under the superintendence and direction of the Registrar. He may exercise such powers and functions of Registrar with a local limit as may be specified for this purpose.

Mode of Registration:

Any seven or more persons who want to form a trade union, can apply for its registration to the Registration of Trade Unions under Section 4 (1) of the Trade Unions Act, 1926. These applicants must be members of a trade union.

In order to check the multiplicity of trade unions, one school of thought has proposed the number of persons forming a trade union for the purposes of registration be reasonably increased to 10 percent of employees of the unit, subject to a minimum of seven persons employed therein This is expected to strengthen the trade union movement. The application for registration must be sent to the Registrar of Trade Unions in Form “A” as required by the Trade Union Act, 1926 under Section 5.

Application for registration

According to section 5 of the Act, every application for the registration of the trade union shall be made to the Registrar and shall be accompanied by a copy of the rules of the Trade Union and a statement of the following particulars namely-

1.The names, occupations and addresses of the members making the application;

2.The name of the trade union and the address of its head office, and

3.The titles, names, ages, addresses and occupations of the office- bearers of the trade union.

Where a trade union has been in existence for more than a year, then a copy of the assets and liabilities shall also be submitted along with the application for registration.

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