Philosophy of Trade Unionism

Employers and workers appear to maneuver toward work from an unfathomably alternate point of view. Unions have assumed employment within the specialist boss discourse for a substantial length of our time, however over the foremost recent few decades, numerous parts of the business condition have changed. Unionism had made its progress due to the development of industrialization and personal enterprise. The target of union formation is to take care of industrial peace and to supply justice to workers.

Nowadays, employers have begun to realize the importance of workers. The workers also began to form trade unions to guard their interests and goals. Trade unions are a big segment of the arrangement of present-day mechanical relationships in many countries, each having their own arrangement of goals or objectives to accomplish as indicated by their constitution and its own methodology to reach those objectives. Unions are credited with securing improvements in working conditions and wages. Some governments aggressively block or regulate a Union’s formation while others have focused on their economies in industries where unions have not traditionally participated.


Unions are the organizations that conciliate with corporations, businesses, and other organizations on behalf of union members. Trade unions represent the workers who do a specific sort of job and vertical unions represent the workers within the particular industry. The American Federation of Labour-Congress of commercial Organization (AFL-CIO) may be a union and United Auto Workers (UAW) is a vertical union. Many unions were formed in manufacturing and resource companies, textile factories, and mines. With time, Unions have expanded to various other industries. Nowadays, a serious part of union membership is found in transportation, utilities, and government. The number of endorsers and therefore the profundity at which association enters the economy fluctuates from nation to nation.

In recent decades, Unions have observed limited growth thanks to a shift from “old economy” industries, which include manufacturing and enormous companies. Within the recent past, potential union members have spread into bigger set of companies and outsized sets of companies. Union leaders must work with a bigger set of managers and sometimes have a harder time organizing employees which makes negotiation a more complicated task. The expansion of the clever worker has also changed the role of unions. The customary focus of association pioneers is chatting with labourers while haggling with supervisors. However, when created economies move far away from dependence on assembling, the road among managers and workers gets obscured. Additionally, computerization, PCs, and expanded specialist profitability bring about fewer labourers being expected to try to an identical activity.

A union is a corporation or a group which provides the workers with a platform to represent their interests and their goals. It’s a corporation that is made by workers from various fields to figure out their common interests. It’s an independent union that isn’t under the control of the employer and also financially independent. These organizations act as a link between the workers and management. The Indian Union Act, 1926, is the Act that controls and regulates the operations of trade unions. If the union felt that the employer isn’t following the terms of the labour contract or there’s a disagreement then the union can file a complaint regarding as a grievance with their employers.

Targets and Need of a Union

  • Wages and salaries are the foremost important component of trade unions within the organized industry. Wages and incentives are governed through methods like negotiation, wage boards, conciliation, and adjudication. Union power and objective influence the wage scene through these forums.[i]
  • Working Conditions are another main objective. It is to make sure of the safety of workers. Every worker must be provided basic facilities during work like Social Security, safety equipment, minimum working hours, paid holidays, beverage, lights, etc.
  • Any policy is challenged by trade unions, if arbitrary, of the employer concerning promotion, transfer, and training.
  • Trade unions protect the workers from whimsical disciplinary action taken by management against any worker. No worker should be persecuted by the management for arbitrary transfer or suspension.
  • The union is additionally working for the welfare of the workers. It also includes the welfare of the family and their children.
  • Employee and employers’ relations with the industry is an important part to take care of to ensure harmony. But sometimes, due to the superior power of the management, conflicts arise during this situation.
  • Trade unions also put proposals before management, as this policy is depending on the give and take. Trade unions protect the interest of workers through negotiation.
  • Trade unions help to realize worker satisfaction. It also helps in providing better industrial relations by creating procedures to resolve the economic dispute.
  • It also provides the platform to the workers to hitch others to realize social objectives.

Functions of Trade Unions

* Negotiation – Supreme Court has defined negotiation as the technique by which dispute on conditions of employment is resolved amicably by agreement instead of coercion.[1] In this process, dealings and discussions happen between the employer and employees about working conditions.

* Trade unions protect the workers from wages hike, provide job security through various measures.

* They’re going to also provide the worker financial and non-financial aid to the workers during exclude or strike or in medical need.

* It’s additionally borne as a main priority while deciding on an understanding that the keenness of the labourers who aren’t the individuals from worker’s organizations and ensured and therefore the labourers aren’t separate.[2]

Laws overseeing working organizations in India

In India, the right to make and join a union, and have interaction in negotiation is provided for under national and state-specific legislation. The courts have upheld the right of workers to make or join a union in India.[3]

Constitution of India, 1950

Article 19 (I)(c) of the Constitution of India, 1950 which provides for the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression also guarantees the country’s citizens the right to make association and unions including trade unions. The SC held that the right guaranteed in Article 19(I)(c) which also includes the right to join an association or union.[4]

This right carries with it the right of the State to impose reasonable restrictions.[ii] The right to the acknowledgment of the union by the employer wasn’t brought inside the domain of the rights under Article 19(1)(c) and such recognition denied by the employer won’t be considered as a violation of Article 19(1)(c).[5]

Trade Union Act, 1926

The Trade Union Act, 1926, provides information and details of registration of trade unions and is bound to define the law concerning the registered trade unions. The Act defines a union as “any combination, whether temporary or permanent, formed primarily for the aim of regulating the relations between the workmen and employers, or for imposing a restrictive condition on the conduct of any trade or business, and includes any federation or two or more unions.”[iii]

Leading cases

B. Srinivasa Reddy v. Karnataka Urban water system & Drainage Board Employees’ Association[6]

It was held that an unregistered union or a trade union whose registration has been cancelled has no right under the TU Act or the IDA. It highlights the importance of the registration of trade unions.

B. R. Singh v. Union of India[7]

In this case, the court has recognized “strike” as a mode of redress for resolving the grievances of workers.

Food Corporation of India Staff Union v. Food Corporation of India and Others[8]

The SC held that the norms and procedures to be followed for assessing the representative character of trade unions by the ‘secret ballot’ system.


Out of line practice and of not including representatives in any kind of dynamic caused the arrangement of unions in India and it’s acknowledgment by the courts. There are different contexts during which employees need to be absolved from the whimsical decision of employer like wages, bonus, working hours, etc. which may only be achieved by virtue of negotiation where the interests of both the parties are given priorities to resolve any dispute. The thought of social justice and industrial peace can only be achieved by the cooperation of employer and employees and that’s why union plays an important role in achieving industrial peace and serving justice to the employees.


  • What is meant by an independent union?
  • What do unions do?
  • What’s collective bargaining?
  • Why are unions vital for workers?
  • If an employer isn’t following the terms of the labour contract, or if there’s a disagreement about a part of the labour contract then what can the employees do?


  • [1] Karol Leather Karamchari Sangathan v. Liberty Footwear Company, (1989) 4 SCC 448.
  • [2] Mst. Deoli Bakaram v. The State İndustrial Court, Nagpur, AIR 1959 Bom. 70.
  • [3] All India Bank Employees’ Association v. N. I. Tribunal, AIR 1962 SC 171.
  • [4] Damyanti v. Union of India, AIR 1971 S. C. 966.
  • [5] Raghubar Dayal Jai Prakash v. Union of India, AIR 1950 SC 263.
  • [6] 2006 11 SCC 731(2).
  • [7] 1989 4 SCC 710.
  • [8] AIR 1955 SC 1344.

  • [i] J. Fonseca, Wage Determination and Organized Labour in India, 1964.
  • [ii] Article 19(4) of the Constitution.
  • [iii] Section 2 , Trade Union Act, 1926.

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