Role of Outsiders in TU

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Topics: Trade union
INTRODUCTION:
The role of outsiders in the Indian Trade Unions has long been quoted with a negative connotation. The views are mostly stereotyped with very less factual support. In 1960s for example, the National Commission of Labour found that the number of outsiders was not more than 10%. Since then things have changed further and more and more insiders are getting involved in the Trade Union activities, NCL has still never favoured to limit the number of outsiders.
It is interesting to note that the first noticeable trade union activity in India, the Binny mills case in Madras presidency, was led by B. P Wadia, who was an outsider to the trade union. This particular incidence is a proof that the outsiders can be a driving force of positive change in the trade unions. But there have been issues where outsiders have been a negative impact on trade union activities. Nonetheless, it is important to identify the involvement of outsiders at different levels of a trade union. It is rare to find an outsider in the lower rungs where there is less glamour and fewer perquisites. Outsider involvement cannot be curtailed till the time the legal system encourages adjudication and conciliation over collective bargaining. In such cases, the unions look for political and professional support. Many a times the management themselves bring in outside leadership for overt as well as covert reasons. We also need to understand the ILO conventions in this context which have always stated that the unions should have complete freedom in the matter of union formation. Many a times certain cities and regions develop a political custom for union management. For example, Mumbai has seen a lot of political leaders who have held important positions for decades – Sundaram (1950s), Mehta and Fernandez (1960s) and Dutta Samant (1970s). In such cases it becomes very difficult to avoid outsider interference in unions.
Another aspect that needs to be looked into, is whether the union is formed for



Citations: Kerala High Court All India Rubber Board Union vs. Rubber Board on 31 July, 2009 http://www.indiankanoon.org/doc/461903/

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