History of Trade Unionism in India

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CHAPTER 111

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF TRADEUNIONISM
IN INDIA

3 1 Introduction . 3 2 Workers Organisation - A Necessity and its Realisation in India . 3 3 History of Indian Trade Union . 3 4 Labour Legislation . 3 5 Trade Union and Related Legislation . 3 6 Functions of Unions . 3 7 Objectives of Trade Unions . 3 8 Reasons for Workers to Join Trade Unions . 39 Essentials of a Successful Trade Union . 3 1 Advantages and Disadvantages of Trade Unions .0 3 1 Patterns and Structure of Unions in India .1 3.12 Types of Unions 3.13 Factors Affecting the Growth of Trade Unions 3.14 Statutory Necessities of Trade Unions. References

The institution of Trade union, though comparatively recent in origin has become a powerful force by way of its direct influence in the social and economic life of industrial workers. Sydney and Beatrice Webb considered Trade Unionism to be "the extension of the principle of democracy in the sphere of industry".' Unfortunately this broad idea is weakened by causes not too far to seek;

multiplicity of unions, placing political ideology before economic interests and to some extent insufficient leadership. Since the conflict, or co-operation between workers and management is greatly influenced by the nature of the workers organisation and the processes that induce their structure, study of Trade Union becomes a critical topic in the industrial relations area. In this chapter an effort is made to study the origin of Trade Unions in lndia, the nature and pattern of unions, the relations within the unions, its consequences for the structure and behaviour of Trade Unions in the Industry and the implications they leave to be marked and provide in the years to come. 3.2 Workers Organisation

- A Necessity and its Realisations in lndia

Trade Un~ons are the product of large scale industrialisation and concentration of industries. Before the advent of industrialisation there were

personal contracts between the employers and the workers (as the industries were run In the homes and with the tools of the employer). So there was no need to have any machinery for determining their relationship. But under the modem factory system this personal contact lost its weight due to setting up of large scale industrial units, with concentration in towns and with the heavy use of machinery. The lure of employers, to reduce the cost of production, in order to withstand in the competitive market and to maximise their profits enabled them to use more and more technologically advanced devices of production and sophisticated machines which, in turn, have contributed in further drying up the dampness of the personal relationship. Simultaneously it had given rise to a new class of workers who were dependent on wages only for their livelihood and had come frnm different parts of the country, for seelung employment in these industries.

3.3 History of the Indian Trade Unions
As an organised movement, trade unions began to take shape in India in the years immediately following the end of the World War I. The rise of trade unions was a new development in the society. In its long history through the ayes there is no organisation which can be regarded as the prototype of a trade union. "There are some similarities between a trade union and a caste, but there are rnore dissimilarities than similarities. A caste is many a time wedded to a

profession or a craft. Originally the caste system may have developed, at least partially, as a result of different professions and practices followed by various sections of the society. But in course of time caste became entirely dependent on birth. One is born into a caste, he cannot join it. The link between the caste and the profession or craft also broke down in later years."z Trade unions are essentially the product of modem large scale industry. Indian trade unions did not grow out of any existing institutions in the society. They developed as a new institution. So far as the...
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