Trade Union Movement in India By Trapti Pareek

The trade union movement in India started with the forming of Bombay Mill Hands Association in 1890 by N.K. Lokhands. In 1897, Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants, Printers Union of Calcutta in 1905, Madras and Calcutta postal Unions 1907 were the other associations formed in the beginning of this movement. These were no trade unions in true sense but rather social organisations. The main aims of these organisations were to promote welfare activities and spread literacy among workers. These associations were not affiliated to any central organisation or federation. The leadership to these unions was provided mostly by social reformers, careerists and
politicians-cum nationalists. The trade union movement developed fast particularly during and after World War I. The
factors like economic hardship due to rise in cost of living, rising tide of nationalism, emergence of union leadership contributed to development of trade unionism in India.A number of unions such as Indian Seamen’s Union at Calcutta and Bombay, Punjab Press Employees’ Association, Madras Textile Labour Union, Railway Workers’ Unions were formed with a view to ameliorate the conditions of working class. A number of nationalist leaders like C.R. Das, Moti Lal Nehru, Jawaharlal Nehru, Subhash Chandra Bose, V.V. Giri, S.A. Dange, S.V. Ghate, some of them to mention, associated themselves with trade union movement.
In 1920 All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) was formed under the leadership of Lala Lajpat Rai. By 1926-27, workers’ and peasants’ parties sprang up and in 1928; various local units of these parties were united into in All India Workers’ and Peasants’ party. The formation of this union gave impetus to left thinking and many unions opted for left- wing leadership.
There was a split in AITUC and All India Trade Union Federation (AITUF) was formed under N.M. Joshi. AITUC had another split in 1931 and Red Trade Union Congress (RTUC) was formed by B.T. Ranadive and S.V. Deshpande. In 1935 RTUC merged into AITUC. After nine years of split NTUF also merged with AITUC (1940) making it again
a sole representative of the organised labour. Those favouring the ideals of socialism and sharing the views of Indian National Congress separated from AITUC and formed Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) in
1947. The socialists later formed Hind Mazdoor Panchayat (H.M.S.). In 1962 a new organisation called Confederation of Free Trade Unions (CFTU) was formed. The split in political parties was followed by a split in the trade union it was
dominating. This process has continued in the Indian scene right upto now.
 Aims and Object
I. To improve the economic lot of workers by securing them better wages.
II. To secure for workers better working conditions.
III. To secure bonus for the workers from the profits of the enterprise/organization.
IV. To ensure stable employment for workers and resist the schemes of management
which reduce employment opportunities.
V. To provide legal assistance to workers in connection with disputes regarding work
and payment of wages.
VI. To protect the jobs of labour against retrenchment and layoff etc.
VII. To ensure that workers get as per rules provident fund, pension and other benefits.
VIII. To secure for the workers better safety and health welfare schemes.
IX. To secure workers participation in management.
X. To inculcate discipline, self-respect and dignity among workers.
XI. To ensure opportunities for promotion and training.
XII. To secure organizational efficiency and high productivity.XIII. To generate a committed industrial work force for improving productivity of the
system.

 Functions of Trade Unions:
I. Collective bargaining with the management for securing better work environment
for the workers/ employees.
II. Providing security to the workers and keeping check over the hiring and firing of
workers.
III. Helping the management in redressal of grievances of workers at appropriate level.
IV. If any dispute/matter remains unsettled referring the matter for arbitration.
V. To negotiate with management certain matters like hours of work, fringe benefits,
wages and medical facilities and other welfare schemes.
VI. To develop cooperation with employers.
VII. To arouse public opinion in favour of labour/workers.

TRAPTI PAREEK

@ LEXCLIQ

 

 

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