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Trade Unions: Concept and Objectives

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The Trade Union is an association of workers formed mainly for the purpose of protection and enhancing the socio-economic status of it’s members via collective action. The common feature of all unions is that the union is in theory of democratic institution. The ultimate power lies with membership as a whole. The legislation which regulates these trade unions is the Indian Trade Unions Act, 1926.

Trade unions have emerged along with the modern industrial development. Trade unions occupy a crucial place in the socio-economic and political transformation of a country. However, trade unions can contribute only if they are organizationally strong. Effective trade leadership is the crucial factor behind the growth, strength and effectiveness of the trade unions. Trade union is a by-product of Industrial Revolution. Before that, the production processes were not mechanised, since the skill of the worker was in high demand. It was not easy for the employer to lose a skilled craftsman, it was difficult to replace him. The employers and workers mutually depended on each other both in the small and cottage production, before the industrial revolution. After the industrial revolution, because of mechanisation, the individual skill of the worker was not considered very important.

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Objectives of trade union

  1. To represent workers on various participative forums;
  2. To get all eligible members under one platform;
  3. To represent the workers to upper management in case of any disputes.
  4. To enter into collective bargaining and any other agreements on behalf of workers.
  5. To undertake various activities for the welfare of the workers.
  6. To provide various benefits to workers in case of sickness, old age, trade disputes, unemployment, litigation and also to provide funeral expenses.
  7. Furtherance of political objectives.
  8. To participate in any association work that furthers the activities of trade unions and its members.
  9. To arrange the necessary activities for moral and social upliftment of workers.
  10. To arrange for printing or publishing facilities for the benefit of workers.

Functions of trade union

In India, trade unions generally undertake the following functions:

  1. To achieve higher wages and better working and living conditions for the members;
  2. To acquire control over industry by workers;
  3. To decrease the helplessness of the individual workers by making them stand up with unity and increasing their resistance power via collective bargaining, protecting the members from victimisation and injustice by their employers;
  4. To raise the status of the workers as partners in industry and citizens of society by demanding an increase in share for them in the management of industrial enterprises;
  5. To generate self-confidence within the workers;
  6. To enhance sincerity and discipline within workers;
  7. To improve welfare measures for boosting the worker’s morale.


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