The protection of workers' rights is made possible in large part by trade
unions. The trade unions have been given a few rights and obligations to help
achieve this. The Industrial Revolution began in Europe in the early 1700's and
continued until the 1900's.
The economy was changing from agriculture to one
dominated by machinery and manufacturing. It was also a historical period filled
with scientific discoveries and inventions, when the concept of industry was
born and various forms of technology were created. All of this has led to
standardization of production processes and manufactured goods.
Since India was a British colony during the industrial revolution, the same type
of trade was carried out in India. While Europeans came to India primarily in
search of raw materials, India soon became a market for finished goods and a
source of cheap labor under the British system.
This began the exploitation of
labor, especially in nascent industries such as textiles, jute, cotton, and
railroads. The need to give workers a voice led to the formation of the first
union in India in 1851, when the Bombay Textile Mills were established. At the
same time, in 1954, a union was formed at a jute mill in Calcutta.
Trade unions must register to assert their rights and have legal status.
Sections 3-14[ii] of the foregoing law describe the procedure by which trade
unions are registered. When registering a trade union under Section 8 , the
Registrar shall issue a certificate of registration in the form prescribed,
conclusive proof that the trade union is duly registered under this Act. Chapter
3 of the act shows the rights and liability of trade unions.
Sections Related To Rights And Liabilities Of Registered Trade Union
After registration, trade unions receive certain rights and privileges. The
rights guaranteed to the registered trade unions and their liabilities are
provided in chapter 3 from section 15 to 28 of the Trade Union act, 1926.
Sec 15. Objects on which general funds may be spent.
16. Constitution of a separate fund for political purposes.
17. Criminal conspiracy in trade disputes.
18. Immunity from civil suit in certain cases.
19. Enforceability of agreements.
20. Right to inspect books of trade unions.
21. Rights of minors to membership of trade unions.
21.A. Disqualifications of office-bearers of trade unions.
22. Proportion of office bearers to be connected with the industry.
23.. Change of name.
24. Amalgamation of trade unions.
25. Notice of change of name or amalgamation.
26. Effects of change of name and of amalgamation.
Objects on which general funds may be spent. -The general
funds of a Registered Trade Union shall not be spent on any other objects than
the following namely:
- The payment of salaries, allowances and expenses to [office-bearers) of
the Trade Union;
- The payment of expenses for the administration of the Trade Union
including audit of the accounts of the general funds of the Trade Union;
- The prosecution or defence of any legal proceeding to which the Trade Union
or any member thereof is a party, when such prosecution of defence is undertaken
for the purpose of securing or protecting any ng of the Trade Union as such or
any rights arising out of the relations of any member with his employer or with
a person whom the member employs;
- The conduct of trade disputes on behalf of the Trade Union of member
- The compensation of members for loss arising out of trade disputes;
- Allowances to members of their dependents on account of death, old age
sickness, accidents or unemployment of such members;
- The issue of, or the undertaking of liability under, policies of
assurance on the lives of members, or under policies insuring members
against sickness, accident or unemployment.
- The provision of educational, social or religious benefits for members
(including the payment of the expenses of funeral or religious ceremonies
for deceased members) or for the dependants of members;
- The upkeep of a periodical published mainly for the purpose of
discussing questions affecting employers or workmen as such;
- The payment, in furtherance of any of the objects on which the general
funds of the Trade Union may be spent, of contributions to any cause
intended to benefit workmen in general, provided that the expenditure in
respect of such contributions in any financial year shall not at any time
during that year be in excess of one-fourth of the combined total of the
gross income which has up to that time accrued to the general funds of the
Trade Union during that year and of the balance at the credit of those funds
at the commencement of that year; and
- Subject to any conditions contained in the notification, any other
object notified by the [appropriate Government] in the (Official Gazette).]
Constitution of a separate fund for political purposes:
- A Trade Union may constitute a separate fund, from contributions
separately levied for or made to that fund, from which payments may be made,
for the promotion of the civic and political interests of its members, in
furtherance of any of the objects specified in sub-section (2).
- The objects referred to in sub-section (1) are:
[(2A) In its application to the State of Jammu and Kashmir, references in
Sub-section (2) to any legislative body constituted under the Constitution shall
be Construed as including references to the Legislature of that State.]
- The payment of any expenses incurred, either directly or indirectly, by a
candidate or prospective candidate for election as a member of any
legislative body constituted under [the Constitution] or of any local
authority, before, during, or after the election in connection with his
candidature or election; or
- The holding of any meeting or the distribution of any literature or
documents in support of any such candidate or prospective candidate; or
- the maintenance of any person who is a member of any legislative body
constituted under the constitution or for any local authority; or
- the registration of electors or the selection of a candidate for any
legislative body constituted under [xxx] [the Constitution] or for any local
- the holding of political meetings of any kind, or the distribution of
political Literature or political documents of any kind.
- No member shall be compelled to contribute to the fund constituted under
sub-section (1); and a member who does not contribute to the said fund shall
not be excluded from any benefits of the trade union, or placed in any
respect either directly or indirectly under any disability or at any
disadvantage as compared with other members of the trade union (except in
relation to the control or management of the said fund) by reason of his not
contributing to the said fund; and contribution to the said fund shall not
be made a condition for admission to the trade union.]
Section 17: Criminal conspiracy in trade disputes
No office bearer or member of a registered trade union shall be liable to
punishment under sub-section (2) of section 120B of the Indian Penal Code, 1860
(45 of in respect of any agreement made between the members for the purpose of
Furthering any such object of the trade union as is specified in section 15,
unless the agreement is an agreement to commit an offence.
Section 18: Immunity from civil suit in certain cases
- Any registered trade union or any (office-bearer) or member thereof in
respect of act done in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute to
which a member of trade union is a party on the ground only that such act
induces some other person to break a contract of employment, or that it is
in interference with the trade, business employment of some other person or
with the right of some other person to dispose of his capital or of his labour as he wills.
- A registered trade union shall not be liable in any suit or other legal
proceeding in any civil court in respect of any tortious act done in
contemplation or further a trade dispute by an agent of the trade union if it is
proved that such person ate without the knowledge of, or contrary to express
instructions given by, the executive the trade union.
Section 19: Enforceability of agreements
Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force,
An agreement between the members of a registered trade union shall not be void
or Voidable merely by reason of the fact that any of the objects of the
agreement are Restraint of trade:
PROVIDED that nothing in this section shall enable any civil court to entertain
am legal proceeding instituted for the express purpose of enforcing or
recovering damage for the breach of any agreement concerning the conditions on
which any member da trade union shall or shall not sell their goods, transact
business, work, employ or be employed.
Section 20: Right to inspect books of trade unions
The account books of a registered trade union and the list of members thereof
shall be open to inspection by an '[office-bearer] or member of the trade union
at such times as may be provided for in the rules of the trade union.
21: Rights of minors to membership of trade unions
Any person who has attained the age of fifteen years may be a member of a
Registered trade union subject to any rules of the trade union to the contrary,
and may Subject as aforesaid, enjoy all the rights of a member and execute all
instruments and Give all acquittances necessary to be executed or given under
21A. Disqualifications of office-bearers of trade unions:
- A person shall be disqualified for being chosen as, and for being member
of the executive or any other office-bearer of a registered trade union if:
- He has not attained the age of eighteen years;
- he has been convicted by court in India of any offence involving moral
turpitude and sentenced to imprisonment, unless a period of five years has
Elapsed since his release.
- ny member of the executive or other office-bearer of a registered trade
union who, before the commencement of the Indian Trade Union (Amendment)
Act, 1964 (38 of 1964), has been convicted of any offence involving moral
turpitude and sentenced to imprisonment, shall on the date of such
commencement cease to be such member or office-bearer unless a period of
five years has elapsed since his release before that date.
- In its application to the State of Jammu and Kashmir, reference in
sub-section (2) to the commencement of the Indian Trade Union (Amendment)
Act, 1964 (38 of 1964) shall be construed as reference to the commencement
of this Act in the said State.
Section 22: Proportion of office-bearers to be connected with the industry
Section 23: Change of name
- Not less than one-half of the total number of the office-bearers of
every registered Trade Union in an unorganized sector shall be persons
actually engaged or employed in an industry with which the Trade Union is
PROVIDED that the appropriate Government may, by special or general order,
declare that the provisions of this section shall not apply to any Trade Union
or class of Trade Unions specified in the order.
Explanation: For the purposes of this section, "unorganized sector" means any
sector which the appropriate Government may, by notification in the Official
- Save as otherwise provided in sub-section (1), all office-bearers of a
registered Trade Union, except not more than one-third of the total number
of the office-bearers Or five, whichever is less, shall be persons actually
engaged or employed in the Establishment or industry with which the Trade
Union is connected.
Explanation: For the purposes of this sub-section, an employee who has retired
or has been retrenched shall not be construed as outsider for the purpose of
holding an office in a Trade Union.
- No member of the Council of Ministers or a person holding an office of
profit (not being an engagement or employment in an establishment or
industry with which the Trade Union is connected), in the Union or a State,
shall be a member of the executive or other office-bearer of a registered
Any registered trade union may, with the consent of not less than two-thirds of
the Total number of members and subject to the provisions of section 25, change
Section 24: Amalgamation of trade unions
Any two or more registered trade unions may become amalgamated together as one
trade union with or without dissolution or division of the funds of such trade
unions or either or any of them, provided that the votes of at least one-half of
the members of each or every such trade union entitled to vote are recorded, and
that at least sixty per cent of the votes recorded are in favour of the
Section 25: Notice of change of name or amalgamation
- Notice in writing of every charge of name and of every amalgamation
signed, in the case of a change of name, by the Secretary and by seven
members of the trade union changing its name, and in the case of an
amalgamation, by the Secretary and by seven members of each and every trade
union which is a party thereto, shall be sent to the Registrar and where the
head office of the amalgamated trade union is situated in a different State,
to the Registrar of such State.
- If the proposed name is identical with that by which any other existing
trade union has been registered or, in the opinion of the Registrar, so
nearly resembles such name as to be likely to deceive the public or the
members of either trade union, the Registrar shall refuse to register the
change of name.
- Save as provided in sub-section (2), the Registrar shall, if he is
satisfied that the provisions of this Act in respect of change of name have
been complied with, register the change of name in the register referred to
in section 8, and the change of name shall have effect from the date of such
- The Registrar of the State in which the head office of the amalgamated
trade union is situated shall, if he is satisfied that the provisions of
this Act in respect amalgamation have been complied with and that the trade
union formed thereby is of entitled to registration under section 6,
register the trade union in the manner provided in section 5 and the
amalgamation shall have effect from the date of such registration.
Section 26 : Effects of change of name and of amalgamation
- The change in the name of a registered trade union shall not affect any
rights or obligations of the trade union or render defective any legal
proceeding by or against the trade union, and any legal proceeding which
might have been continued or commenced by or against it by its former name
may be continued or commenced by or against it by its new name.
- An amalgamation of two or more registered trade unions shall not
prejudice Any right of any of such trade unions or any right of a creditor
of any of them.
Section 27: Dissolution
- When a registered trade union is dissolved, notice of the dissolution
signed by seven members and by the Secretary of the trade union shall,
within fourteen days of the dissolution be sent to the Registrar, and shall
be registered by him if he is satisfied that the dissolution has been
affected in accordance with the rules of the trade union. And the
dissolution shall have effect from the date of such registration.
- Where the dissolution of a registered trade union has been registered
and the rules of the trade union do not provide for the distribution of
funds of the trade union on dissolution, the Registrar shall divide the
funds amongst the members in such manner as may be prescribed.
Section 28: returns
- There shall be sent annually to the Registrar, on or before such date as
may be prescribed, a general statement, audited in the prescribed manner, of
all receipts and expenditure of every registered trade union during the year
ending on the 31st day of [December] next preceding such prescribed date,
and of the assets and liabilities of the trade union existing on such 31st
day of (December). The statement shall be prepared In such form and shall
comprise such particulars as may be prescribed.
- Together with the general statement there shall be sent to the Registrar
a statement showing changes of loffice-bearers] made by the trade union during the
year to which the general statement refers together also with a copy of the
rules of the trade union corrected up to the date of the despatch thereof to the
- (A copy of every alteration made in the rules of a registered trade
union shall be sent to the Registrar within fifteen days of the making of
- For the purpose of examining the documents referred to in sub-sections
(1), 2) and (3), the Registrar, or any officer authorized by him by general
or special order, may at all reasonable times, inspect the certificate of
registration, account books, registers, and other documents, relating to a
trade union, at its registered office or may require their production at
such place as he may specify in this behalf, but no such place shall be at a
distance of more than ten miles from the registered office of a trade union
Rights And Liabilities Of Trade Unions Are:
- A registered trade union must follow the provisions of the trade union
act 1926. the following are the restrictions in the registered trade union
as well as a right to Establish a general fund.
- The office bearers must be given salaries.
- The funds can be spent on the costs incurred for the administration of
the trade union.
- Compensating workers Due to loss in code out of trade dispute.
- Expenses incurred in the worker's welfare activities.
- Benefits are conferred to the workers in case of unemployment,
disability, or death.
- The cost incurred and legal suit.
- Publishing Materials with the aim of discussing the questions affecting
- For education of the workers or their dependant.
- Making provisions for workers of medical treatment
- Taking insurance policy for workers' welfare
- Section 16 Trade union cannot force members to subscribe to any
political fund this might be a disadvantage and to the other side
subscription to this fund is not necessary for a member
Provides that a trade union may establish a separate fund from the contributions
made separately for the aforementioned objectives in order to advance the civic
and political goals of its members. No union member may be forced to make a
donation to the fund.
A legally recognized labour union may establish a separate fund with the goal of
advancing the civic and political objectives of its members. A recognized trade
union is not allowed to use its general finances for its members' political
campaigns. The trade union must establish a separate political fund for
political causes. Contributions to such a fund must be separately collected.
Here are a few of them:
- the reimbursement of all expenditures made, either directly or
indirectly, by a candidate or potential candidate for election to any
governmental entity or local authority. The expenses encompass all
expenditures related to his campaign, whether they occur before, during, or
after the election.
- maintenance of any person holding a position in a municipal or
- voter enrollment or the selection of a candidate for any legislative
body or local authority.
- the organization of political events of any kind or the dissemination of
political literature or materials to trade union members.
- A registered trade union is granted immunity in some criminal, civil,
and contractual procedures under sections 17, 18, and 19.
In cases of criminal conspiracy under section 120-B of the IPC done by an office
bearer or a member, section 17 grants immunity from liability.
- However, this immunity is limited in that it only applies to contracts
made by members for the advancement of legitimate trade union objectives as
defined in section 15 of the Act, making it a partial immunity.
- Registered Trade Unions have certain rights to do in promotion of their labour
disputes, including calling for a strike and convincing members.
- West Indies Steel Company Ltd. v/s Azeez 1998
A trade union representative interrupted or blocked factory work for five hours
in protest against the transfer of a worker to another area. It was determined
that a factory worker had to follow any instructions given to him by his
superiors. A union representative is not exempt from adhering to the
regulations. A trade union official or any other employee is not permitted by
law to share managerial duties.
- Under section 20 A trade union must have all record books of accounts
available and the list of membership for inspection upon request of any
member or his representative.
- As per section 21 even the miners have the right to be the member of
trade union, but such minors cannot hold office.
- As per section 21A, a trade union cannot appoint any person who has been
convicted crime which is having Imprisonment for six months or more than
that within the last five years.
- As per section 22 at least half of the office pairs of a trade union
must be engaged are employed in an industry to which the trade union is
connected. Rules of natural justice must be followed while a trade union is
to remove any office bearer.
- Any registered organization is permitted to change its name under
Section 23 of the Act as long as at least two-thirds of its members agree to
the change and Section 25 of the Act's requirements are met.
- According to Section 24, two or more trade unions may merge to create a
single trade union with or without dividing the funds. Only after the votes
of half of each trade union's members have been cast, and if 60% of the
votes cast support the plan, can such an amalgamation take place.
- Section 25: Every name change, and amalgamation must include a
written notification to the Registrar that is properly signed by the
Secretary and seven members of the Trade Union changing its name, as well as
by the Secretary and seven members of every Trade Union that is a party to
The Registrar may decline to register the change of name if they believe that
the proposed name is the same as any other existing Trade Union's name or is so
similar that it could mislead the general public or the members of either Trade
The amalgamation will take effect as of the date of such registration if the
Registrar of the State in which the main office of the combined Trade Union is
located is satisfied that the requirements of this Act have been met.
According to Section 27 of the Act, a company may be dissolved as follows:
A notice of the dissolution of a registered trade union, which must be signed by
seven members and the trade union secretary, must be served to the registrar
within 14 days of the dissolution. If the registrar is satisfied that the
dissolution has been carried out in accordance with the trade union's
established rules, the dissolution may be registered.
The registrar may distribute the funds in any authorized method when a union has
been dissolved but its regulations do not specify how the fund is to be
distributed following the dissolution.
According to Section 28, each trade union must submit its yearly returns to
the registrar on or before the date that the registrar may specify. The refund
Statement in general Audit report Every penny that the organization has brought
in and spent Assets and liabilities of the company as of December 31st According
to Subsection 2 of this Section, the general statement must be sent to the
registrar along with a copy of the trade union's rules that has been updated as
of the date of dispatch and a statement listing all the changes the union has
made during the year in question. Any time a recognized trade union modifies its
rules, those changes must be communicated to the registrar within at least 15
days (about 2 weeks) of the modification.
For workers who are unable to advocate for themselves individually, the
emergence of labour unions is a blessing. Trade unions are established with the
goal of engaging in collective action for their rights and advantages. The Trade
Union Act was passed to ensure the efficient operation of unions, and it
contains rights and obligations that guard against potential exploitation and
safeguard interests. The Trade Unions Act of 1926 calls for the registration of
trade unions to create a legitimate labour organization that will allow for
Trade union is playing an important role in todays' industries but in spite of
the efforts made by several central trade unions, women participation is very
low. I think this need to be changed.
- Labour & industrial laws [bare act]
- P.L. malik's handbook of labour and industrial law
- Indian kanoon
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