Role of Trade Unions in India

Due to the rise of industrialization and capitalism, trade unionism had made gains. The Indian trade union movement has been around for more than fifty years. It has gone through a variety of stages in its life. There have been times of discontent and bitter struggle, as well as times of appreciation, consolidation, and accomplishments.

The key emphasis of this article is on the roles and positions of trade unions in India. Since Trade Unions have had such a significant effect on social, political, and economic life, we have looked at current working conditions, defining Trade Union needs, social roles, Trade Union working methodology, Trade Union importance, and Trade Union position in collective bargaining.

The aim of establishing trade unions in the recognition of law is to spread industrial peace with the goal of providing social and economic justice to the general public, but this purpose can only be carried out if members of trade unions are given civil liberty and democratic rights by the society in which they reside.

Trade unions are an important part of every country’s modern industrial relations structure, with each having its own set of objectives or goals to achieve in accordance with its constitution, as well as its own strategy for achieving those goals. In the industrial system, labour unions play a critical role. The Ministry of Labour, Government of India’s Labour Bureau, compiles annual statistics on trade unions. Article 19 (1) (c) of the Indian Constitution recognises the freedom to create a trade union as a constitutional right.

Following the First World War, there was a need for independent unions to coordinate, which contributed to India’s trade union movement. Gradually, this trend becomes an important part of India’s industrial growth. In India, trade unions have fiscal, social, and political aspects.

Historically, union representation and collective bargaining have been crucial for the development of a healthy working community in developed economies, enabling workers to earn a more equal share of the wealth they produce, as well as enhancing working conditions and assisting workers in obtaining job security.

Objectives and Need of Trade Union

  • Wages and salaries: Wages and salaries are the most important subjects of Trade Unions. In the organized industry, wages and benefits are determined through processes such as collective bargaining, wage boards, conciliation, and adjudication. Working of all these processes deserves systematic inquiry. Union power and objective facts hopefully influence the wage scene through these forums.
  • Working conditions: Another main goal of trade unions is to ensure that employees are protected. Every worker should have access to basic amenities while on the job, such as. Drinking water, minimum working hours, paid holidays, social security, protective devices, and lighting are just a few of the problems that need to be discussed.
  • Personnel policies: If an employer’s personal policy on promotion, transfer, or training is arbitrary, Labor Unions may challenge it.
  • Discipline: Staff are also shielded by trade unions from management’s unlawful disciplinary actions against any employee. Management does not victimise employees by unfair transfers or suspensions.
  • Welfare: The primary goal of a trade union is to promote the interests of its members. This involves the wellbeing of the worker’s family members or children.
  • Employee and Employer Relations: Harmony between employer and employee is needed for industrial peace. However, because of the management’s superior power, conflict may occur in this situation. The Trade Union continues to bargain with management on behalf of the whole group of employees.
  • Negotiating Machinery: Since this approach is based on the concept of Give and Take, labour unions can also make proposals to management. Trade unions defend workers’ rights through collective bargaining.
  • Safeguarding Organisational Health and the Interest of the Industry: Employee happiness is also aided by trade unions. Trade unions also lead to stronger labour relations by developing processes for settling labour disputes.
  • Alone workers feel weak: The Trade Union gives labours a place to come together with others to accomplish social goals.

Functions of Trade Unions in India

  • The Supreme Court of India has described collective bargaining as a technique by which a conflict over employment conditions is resolved amicably by consensus rather than force. During this process, negotiations and discussions over working conditions take place between the employer and the employee. It is against the law to refuse to bargain jointly. Collective bargaining aids in the resolution of worker disputes. Collective bargaining is at the heart of the revolution, and constitutional recognition of trade unions and their ability to organise workers is in the best interests of workers.
  • Staff are shielded from wage rises by trade unions, which often offer job protection by nonviolent means.
  • Trade unions also support workers in providing financial and non-financial assistance during lockouts, strikes, and medical emergencies.
  • It is also important to keep in mind when negotiating a contract that the rights of employees who are not members of a trade union are secured, and that workers are not discriminated against.

Significance of the Trade Unions establishment

Trade unions fill the gap that was obstructing the attainment of workplace peace and social justice. Every decision reached by trade union deliberation with the employer should be strictly enforced by the labourers who are members of that trade union because it enhances the working conditions. Many welfare steps are taken to benefit workers, such as legal aid, housing schemes, and education for workers’ children. These roles of trade unions make their presence important for social justice.

Trade unions play an important part in raising workers’ incomes. This position can not be observed explicitly, but indirectly wages can be increased by trade union actions such as assurances from the trade union about payment of marginal productivity levels, which can be accomplished by increasing bargaining ability and strength. Trade unions have the right to halt the supply of labourers in a particular trade, possibly resulting in higher wages.


In India, unfair labour practises and the tradition of not including workers in any decision-making led to the founding of a trade union and its legal recognition. Social justice and industrial peace can only be accomplished by reciprocal collaboration between employers and employees, which is why labour unions play such an important role in achieving industrial peace and ensuring overall justice to workers.

Employees can be protected from unfair workplace actions in a variety of situations, including salaries, bonuses, working hours, and holidays. This exemption may only be obtained by a process known as collective bargaining, through which all parties’ interests are prioritised in every type of conflict, The struggle behind the formation of trade unions in India is explained, and the continuing division in trade unions at the national level has resulted in less implementation of the objectives set out before formation. One of the reasons can also be traced in the form of legislation in this regard. Nowadays there are only two conditions for establishing a labour union: a significant number of workers and a conflict with a significant nexus to workers. However, representation is not the only task that must be accomplished; for the purposes of negotiation and total management, the ability of negotiating is required, which is often lacking among the industry’s common employees due to a lack of education and knowledge.

Other problems that plague trade union work include a lack of financial resources and leadership, which prevents adequate resource distribution and participation in policymaking. Despite these obstacles, a more effective labour union is needed to defend the interests of sweat labourers. In the event that the employer who employs the employee takes some unfair action.

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