Growth of Trade Union
In the words of Indian Trade Union Act, 1926, ―A trade union is any combination, whether temporary or permanent, formed primarily for the purpose of regulating the relations between workmen and employers, or between workmen and workmen, between employers and employers, or for imposing restrictive conditions on the conduct of any trade or business, and includes any federation of two or more trade unions‖.
Define Trade Union.
According to Dale Yoder defined as ―A trade union is a continuous association of wage
– earners for the purpose of maintaining or improving the conditions of their working lives‖.
The growth and development of the labour movement, and for that part of the trade unions, in India, can be divided into following periods, each of them revealing different tendencies that mark it from others.
Functions of Trade Unions
Ø To secure fair wages for workers.
Ø To safeguard the security or tenure and improve conditions of service.
Ø To enlarge opportunities for promotion and training.
Ø To improve working and living conditions.
Ø To provide for educational, cultural and recreational facilities.
Ø To cooperate and facilitate technological advancement by broadening the understanding of workers in the issues involved in their jobs.
Ø To promote identity of interests of the workers with their industry.
Ø To offer responsive cooperation in improving levels of production and productivity, discipline and high standards of quality.
Ø To promote individual and collective welfare.
The main characteristics of the trade unionism are:
Small size of membership,
Lack of adequate finance,
Non fulfillment of welfare schemes,
Control of political parties,
Outside interference in the activities of labor unions
Social Welfare period, from 1875 to 1918
The development of industries led to large scale production on the one hand and social evils like employment and exploitation of women and child labour and the deplorable working conditions, the government‘s attitude of complete indifference in respect of protection of labour from such evils, on the other
Early Trade Union period, from 1918 to 1924
The year 1918 was an important one for the Indian trade union movement. ―It market the start of a new era, an era of growth and one in which the leadership of the trade unions was to pass from the hands of the social workers into the hands of the politicians
Left-wing Trade Unionism period, from 1924 to 1934
In 1924, a violent and long-draw-out strike by unions led to the arrest, prosecution, conviction and imprisonment of many communist leaders. The AITUC emerged as the representative of the Indian working class. By 1927 it united 57 unions with a membership of 150,555. the rapid growth of the trade unionism was facilitated by the growth anti-imperialist national movement;
Ø The brutal violence and repressive measures let loose by the British government, particularly the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, Rowlatt Act, indiscriminate arrest and imprisonment of national leaders and Satyagrahis;
Ø The phenomenal profits earned by the capitalist in the face of falling real ages during the post-war period.
Trade Unions’ Unity period from 1935 to 1938
In mid-thirties of the 20th century the state of divided labour movement was natural thought undesirable and soon after the first split, attempts at trade union unity began to be made through the efforts of the Roy Group on the basis of ‗a platform of unity‘. The imitative taken by All-India Railwaymen‘s Federation (s neutral body) had shown fruitful results.
This Federation in its conference at Bombay, formed a Trade Union Unity committee in 1932. The Committee adopted the following ―platform of unity‖. ―A trade union is an orange of class-struggle; its basis task is to organize the workers for advancing and defending their rights and interests. Negotiation, representations and other methods of collective bargaining must remain an integral part of the trade union activates.‖
Second World War period from 1939 to 1945
The Second World War, which broke out in September 1939, created new strains in the united trade union movement. These strains arose because of the different political factions in the AITUC related in different ways to the role of India as a protagonist in the war.
Post – independence period from 1947 to date.
As pointed out earlier, when attempts to restructure the AITUC failed, those believing in the aims and ideals other than those of the AITUC separated from the organization and established the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) in May, 1947