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INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS AND LABOUR LAWS

TRADE UNIONISM

TRADE UNIONISM

CONTENTS

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1.

Introduction

P.05 - 05

2.

Definition

P.06 - 06

3.

Origin of Trade Unions

P.07 - 16

4.

Theories of Trade Union

P.17 - 21

5.

Objectives of Trade Unions

P.22 - 22

6.

Trade Union Activities

P.23 - 24

7.

Determinants of the growth

P.25 - 25

Introduction
The main elements in the development of trade unions of workers
in every country have been more or less the same.
The setting up of large-scale industrial units, created conditions of
widespread use of machinery, new lines of production, and brought
about changes in working and living environment of workers, and
concentration of industries in large towns.
It was this labour protest on an organized scale, through the
support of some philanthropic personalities, that organized labour
unions came to be formed

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Definition
Trade union is an association either of employees or employers or of
independent workers.
It is a relatively permanent formation of workers. It is not a temporary
or casual combination of workers.
It is formed for securing certain economic, social benefits to
members.
Collective strength offers a sort of insurance cover to members to
fight against irrational, arbitrary and illegal actions of employers.
Members can share their feelings, exchange notes and fight the
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employer quite effectively whenever he goes off the track.

Origin of Trade Unions

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Origin of Trade Unions

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Origin of Trade Unions

The purpose of capitalism is self-expansion capital begets


capital and it does so by monetizing social value and human
labour. This is a circuit of transformation.
Immanuel Wallerstein,
2011), 15.

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Historical

Capitalism

(London:

Verso,

Origin of Trade Unions

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Origin of Trade Unions

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Origin of Trade Unions

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Origin of Trade Unions

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Origin of Trade Unions

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Origin of Trade Unions

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Theories of Trade Union Movement


Webb's Theory of Industrial Democracy
Political Revolutionary Theory of Labour Movement of Marx
and Engels
Perlmans Theory of the Job Consciousness of Manual
Workers
Hoxie's Functional Classification of Unionism
Tannenbaums Theory of Man Vs. Machine
Coles Theory of Union Control of Industry
Commons Environment Theory

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Theories of Trade Union Movement


Webb's Theory of Industrial Democracy:Webbs book Industrial democracy is the Bible of trade unionism.
According to Webb, trade unionism is an extension of democracy from
political sphere to industrial sphere. He considered collective bargaining as
the process which strengthens labour.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

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A trade union is a continuous association of wage-earners for the


purpose of maintaining or improving the conditions of their working
lives.
Trade unionism can occur both under capitalism, when there is private
ownership of the means of production and under socialism, when there
is social ownership of the means of production.
The deliberate regulation of the conditions of employment in such a
way as to ward off from the manual-working producers the evil effects
of the industrial competition.
The special function of a trade union is in the democratic
administration of the industry.
The labour organization utilizes the methods of mutual insurance,
collective bargaining and legal enactment.
It is the primary duty of trade unions in a democratic state to maintain
and progressively raise the national minimum for the entire wageearning class.

Theories of Trade Union Movement


Political Revolutionary Theory of Labour Movement of
Marx and Engels:Marx advocated (in Communist Manifesto)radical trade unionism acting as
an instrument of communist revolution. To Marx trade union where the
natural consequence of capitalism with it growing competition among
bourgeoisie and free labourers, whom he called the proletariat. His theory
of trade unionism is based on the conflict inherent between the two classes.

Perlmans Theory
Manual Workers:-

of

the

Job

Consciousness

of

This is primarily based on his examination of labour movements in US,


Great Britain, Germany and Russia.
The trade union is the outcome of the pessimistic outlook of a manualist
worker. This out look emerges when the worker becomes conscious of
the scarcity of job opportunities. In order to protect his limited job
opportunity, he starts uniting with fellow manualists.
During periods of expansion of the economy, the American worker had
the consciousness of abundance, but this phenomenon existed only for a
few years.
Genuine trade unionists are bread and butter trade unionists and
genuine trade unions are inherently bread and butter trade unions.
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Theories of Trade Union Movement


Hoxie's

Functional

Classification

of

Unionism:-

He

classified trade unions in to various categories.


Business unionism:- This type of unionism, most clearly recognized as
the functional type, is essentially trade conscious as opposed to class
conscious
Friendly or up lift unionism:- Such unionism aims mainly at elevating the
moral, intellectual and social life of workers.
Revolutionary unionism:- Revolutionary unionism is extremely radical
both in view point and the action. It is distinctly class conscious rather
than trade conscious. Hoxie has further subdivided this into
Socialistic unionism
Quasi-anarchistic unionism.
Predatory unionism:- This is characterized by ruthless pursuit of the
thing in hand by whatever means seen most appropriate at the time,
regardless of ethical and legal codes or effect.

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Dependent unionism:- This may be of two types:


Company unionism - dominated by employer and is dependent on
him
Union label unionism Depends upon the union label being

Theories of Trade Union Movement


Tannenbaums Theory of Man Vs. Machine: According to him Union is formed in reaction to alienation and loss of
community in an individualistic and unfeeling society.
The labour movement is the result and the machine is the major cause.
The machine threatens the security of the individual worker and the
wage earner reacts in self-defense through union to attempt to control
the machine.

Coles Theory of Union Control of Industry: Coles views are given in his book World of Labour 1913. His views are
somewhere in between Webb and Marx. He agrees that unionism is class
struggle and the ultimate is the control of industry by labour and not
revolution as predicted by Marx.

Commons Environment Theory: He was skeptical of generalizations and believed only that which could
be proved by evidence. He agreed that collective bargaining was an
instrument of class struggle, but he summarized that ultimately there
will be partnership between employers and employees.
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Objectives of Trade Unions


To improve the economic lot of employees by securing for them better
wages.
To secure better working conditions for the workers.
To secure bonus for the employees from the profit of the concern,
To resist schemes of the management which reduce employment, e.g.,
rationalization and automation.
To secure welfare of employees through group schemes which give
benefit to every employee.
To protect the interests of employees by taking active participation in
the management.
To secure social welfare of the employees.
To secure organizational stability, growth, and leadership.
To improve the political status.

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Trade Union Activities


A. Economic Activities: Activities that result in the exercise of economic pressure on the
employer For example, collective bargaining, demonstration, strike,
boycott, picketing and so on.

B. Political Activities: Political education of the workers.


Establishing political parties, and extending help to candidates of
other political parties who are sympathetic to the cause of labour.
Lobbying to influence the course of labour and other legislation.
Participating in , and representing the workers at, advisory bodies.
Developing militancy and revolutionary urge amongst workers.
Protesting against government measures detrimental to the interests
of workers.

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Trade Union Activities


C. Social Activities: Initiating and developing Workers educations scheme.
Organizing welfare activities such as mutual insurance, monetary and
other help during periods of strikes and economic distress.
Running cooperatives.
Providing housing facilities.
Participating in community development and community protection
activities.
Engaging in cultural activities.
Cooperating with governmental agencies in social welfare
programmes.

D. International Activities: Participating in the activities of the International Labour Organization


(ILO)
Associating with the international federations of trade unions such as
the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), the International
Conferderation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) and the International
Trade Union Secretariats.
Sending monetary and other help to workers of other countries in
their time of need
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Determinants of the growth of Trade


Union
The following factors are considered important determinants
of the rate of growth.
i.

Industrial commitment of the labour force.

ii.

Changes in the composition of labour force.

iii. Variations in the business activity.


iv. Change in the technology.
v.

Trade union leadership.

vi. Structure of union organization.


vii. Union security provisions in collective agreements and laws.
viii. Attitude of employers towards unionism.
ix. Political climate and legal framework.
x.

Role of political parties.

xi. Value system and public opinion.


xii. Proximity influence.

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