Wednesday 27 December 2017

Labour Movement.

Need For Trade Unions:
 Why do workers organize themselves into a trade union? It is however, a significant question. The worker joins a trade union for a variety of reasons, but he may be no more conscious of the motive or motives that prompt him to join a union. The trade unions are the organizations formed by working male and female workers both to improve the conditions of labour and to further to attain better life.
i.                        The individual workers all alone feels especially weak in a world of mass production and mass movement. An organization may give him an opportunity to join others for the achievement of those objectives that he considers as socially desirable.

ii.                         The basic purpose of trade union is to safeguard the economic interests of its members. One of the problems in the life of the workers is how to provide sufficient food, clothing and a home for himself and for the members of his family. This is first and foremost a question of finding a job on a reasonable wage. To improve and maintain the wage at 47 a reasonable standard is one of the primary reasons for which a worker joins a trade union.

iii.                         A worker does not only require the bare necessaries of existence but he also wants to obtain the amenities of civilized life, e.g., a better home, more leisure, better conditions of work, etc. The workers also join the trade unions, to a very large extent, because they have interests such as these to promote or defend.

iv.                         The need for trade unions arises due to this fact also that the workers require help in time of sickness or death, protection from suffering and want when they are not of a job and an income of some kind when they are too old to work any more.

v.                         There is anesthetic reason for the existence of trade unions, viz., need for adequate machinery for settling the relations between the employers and employees. In modern industry the old personal relationship between the employers and the workers largely disappears. The worker may become dissatisfied with his working conditions or the treatment of his employers while the employer may feel that he has reason for complaint against the workers. With the growth 48 to industry the number of such questions to be settled increases and it is much better to adjust these differences by agreement between the employers and employees through negotiations. Thus, a trade union is the best and socially most desirable to conduct bargaining on behalf of the workers and the development of collective bargaining between the employers' and workers' organizations is an essential basis for the establishment of peace in industry.

vi.                         Trade unions developed on proper lines lessens violent class conflicts and, thus, is beneficial to employers, the employees, the state and the public. It is, thus, clear that no agency formed or promoted to look after the interests of the workers can be a real substitute for trade unions. The organization of workers is, therefore, not only necessary but also inevitable.

Unions concentrate their attention to achieve the following objectives:

(A) Wages and Salaries : The subject which drew the major attention of the trade unions are wages and salaries. This item may be related to policy matters. However, differences may arise in the process of their implementation. In the case of unorganised senior the trade union plays a crucial role in bargaining the pay scales. The Workers should be provided with need based minimum wage.

(B) Working Conditions : Trade unions with a view to safeguard the health of workers demand the management to provide all the basic facilities such as lighting and ventilation, sanitation, rest rooms, safety equipment while discharging hazardous duties, drinking water, refreshment, minimum working hours, leave and rest, holidays with pay, job satisfaction, social security benefits and other welfare measures. The concept of 48 hrs a week should be adopted.

(C) Personnel Policies : Trade unions may fight against improper implementation of personnel policies in respect of recruitment, selection, promotions, transfers, training, etc.

(D) Discipline : Trade unions not only conduct negotiations in respect of the items with which their working conditions may be improved but also protect the workers from the clutches of management whenever workers become the victims of management's unilateral acts and disciplinary policies. This victimisation may take the form of penal transfers, suspensions, dismissals etc. In such a situation the separated worker who is left in a helpless condition may approach the trade union. Ultimately, the problem may be brought to the notice of management by the trade union, which explains about the injustice meted out to an individual worker and fights the management for justice. Thus, the victimised worker may be protected by the trade union.

(E) Welfare : As stated earlier, trade unions are meant for the welfare of workers. Trade union works as a guide, consulting authority and cooperates inn overcoming the personal problems of workers. It may bring to the notice of management, through collective bargaining meetings the difficulties of workers in respect of sanitation, hospitals, quarters, schools and colleges for their children's cultural and social problems.

(F) Employee-Employer Relations : Harmonious relations between the employees and employer are sine quanon for industrial peace. A trade union always strives for achieving this objective. However, the bureaucratic attitude and unilateral thinking of management may lead to conflicts in the organisation which, ultimately, disrupt the relations between the workers and the management. Trade union, being the representative of all the workers, may carry out continuous negotiations with the management with a view to promoting industrial peace.

(G) Negotiating Machinery : Negotiations include the proposals made by one party and the counterproposals of the other. This process continues until the parties reach an agreement. Thus, negotiations are based on the give and take' principle. Trade union, being a party for negotiations, protects the interests of workers through collective bargaining. Thus, the trade union works as the negotiating machinery.

(H) Safeguarding Organisational Health and the Interest of the Industry : Organisational health can be diagnosed by methods evolved for grievance redressal and techniques adopted to reduce the rate of absenteeism and labour turnover and to improve the employee relations. Trade union by their effective working may achieve employee satisfaction. Therefore trade unions help in reducing the rate of absenteeism, labour turnover and developing systematic grievance settlement procedures leading to harmonious industrial relations. Trade unions can thus contribute to the improvements in level of production, productivity and discipline thereby improving quality of work-life.

Trade unions in present era of industrial development, perform two sets of functions: the "Militant Functions and the Fraternal Functions." The trade union is a militant organisation designed to fight for the cause of the workers. One of the main aims of the organisation of workers into trade union is to secure better conditions of work and employment. The trade 49 unions try to fulfill this aim by the method of collective bargaining and negotiations and if they do not succeed in securing their purpose in this manner, they put up a fight with the employers for achieving their end in the form of strikes and boycotts. More recently, the trade unions have started making efforts to secure some share in the profits and also control of the industry. Then, the trade union is also a fraternal association, a benefit organization, providing sickness and accident benefits to the members and supporting them during strikes and lockouts and during the period when they are temporarily out of work. Such financial help to the members is given by the trade unions out of their own funds created through subscriptions by members. Such functions are known as fraternal functions : However, in modern period, the various functions are performed by trade unions as pointed out below:
Social Responsibilities of Trade Unions
         i.           To educate the rank and file workers so that the traditional agitational role be gradually transformed into one of understanding and co-operation;

       ii.            To keep the well-being and progress of the society constantly before them by way of refraining from unnecessary strikes work stoppage, go-slow intimidation;

     iii.            To protect the interests of the consumer which is usually lost sight of in bipartite agreements reached between the parties;

     iv.           To discharge their role in the success of the schemes for planned economic development of the country, maximizing production and distribution in an equitable manner. According to the first plan document, "for the successful execution of the plan,' the co-operation of the trade unions and employers is indispensable." The Second Plan document also emphasized that, "a strong trade union movement is necessary both for safe guarding the interests of labour and for realizing the targets of production";

       v.           To adopt themselves to charging social needs and to rise above divisive forces of caste, religion and language and to 53 help in promoting national, social and emotional integration at all levels

     vi.           To instil in their members a sense of responsibility towards industry and the community. Further they should seek to harmonise the sectional goals of their members with the community interests in the larger good of the society;

The Initial Stage of Labour Movement in India  :

1. The earliest labour leaders were Sasipada Banerjee of Bengal, S.S. Bengalee of Mumbai and N.M. Lokhanday of Mumbai.

2. First labour organization was Working Men’sClub founded in 1870 by Sasipada Banerjee at Kolkata. Sasipada Banerjee published the journal Bharat Sramjeevi.

3. N.M. Lokhandav could be regarded as the first leader of the Indian workers. In 1890 he founded Mumbai Mill hands Association and protested against the poor conditions in the factories. He published the journal Dinbandhu.

4. Other important workers organization were the Kamgar  Hitavardhak Sabhan (1909), the Social Service League (1911), Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants of India (1897), Printers Union of Kolkata (1905) Postal Union in Mumbai.

5. The Chennai Labour Union, founded in 1918 by B.P.Wadia was perhaps the first trade union organization of Indian on modern lines.

6. On Oct. 31, 1920 All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), which was influenced by the Social Democratic ideas of British labour party. It was also influenced by moderates like N.M.Joshi.

7. The first session of AITUC was held in Mumbai. Lala Lajpat Rai was the President & Dewam Cham Lal was the Secretary.

8. First session was attended by C.R. Das, V.V. Giri, J.L. Nehru, S.C. Bose, Sarojini Naidu, Satyamurti and C.F. Andrew.

9. Gandhi founded Ahmedabad Textile Labour Association also known as Majdur Mahajan in1918-20.

10. A Giri Kamgar Mahamandal was founded by A.A. Alve and G.R. Kasle in Mumbai. This emerged as Girni Kamgar Union in 1928 under thecommunists.

11. Split took place in AITUC in 1929 session which was presided over by J.L. Nehru over the issue of affiliation and issue of boycott of royal commission on labour.

12. In 1929 AITUC was divided into two groups.
·         The Reformers called Geneva Amsterdum Group, which wanted affiliation with the International Federation of Trade Unions.
·         The Revolutionary or Moscovite Group which wanted affiliation with Red Labour Union (RITU).
·         AITUC was affiliated to pan-pacific secretariat and to the Third International.

13. In protest N.M. Joshi withdrew and formed All India Trade Union Federation in 1929. V.V. Giri was its first president.

14. Second split took place in 1931 and Red Trade Union Congress was founded.

15. In 1933, N.M. Joshi & R.R. Bakhle founded National Trade Union Federation.

16. Unity was restored in AITUC in 1940.

17. A pro-government Union was founded IndianFederation of Labour.

18. Indian National Trade Union Congress was founded in 1944 by Nationalist leaders led by Sardar Vallabhabhai Patel.

19.The non-cooperation movement launched by Gandhi deserves special mention in this connection. As a result of the efforts made by Gandhiji, Ahmedabad Textile Labor Association was established.

20. Trade union Hind Mazdoor Sabha in 1949.
21. In 1955, Jan Sangh also established a labor organization. The trade union under the aegis of Jan Sangh was known as “Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh”. Its headquarters was in Bhopal. Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh is not a popular trade union.
22. Socialist Party had established another trade union and this is known as Hind Mazdoor Panchayat.
23. CITU is a National level Trade Union in India politically affiliated to the Communist Party of India (Marxist) as its trade union wing and is a spearhead of the Indian Trade Union Movement founded in 1970.
Present challenges of the Trade Union Movement in India :
Small Size of Unions:
Though trade unions are of various sizes with thousands of members, yet, most of the unions are still characterized by their small size and small membership. The average membership per union in India is less than 800, as compared with the U.K (17,600) the USA (9,500).  Rivalry among the leaders and the Central Organisations has resulted in multiplicity of unions thereby reducing the average membership. It is noteworthy that as the number of unions increases, the total membership does not increase proportionately. If rival unions could be stopped from being evolved, the average size of unions could definitely go up.
Financial Weakness:
Trade unions suffer from financial weakness as the average yearly income of the unions has been rather low and inadequate. The average income has been low not because of the poverty of the workers but because of certain factors namely, workers are apathetic towards trade unions and do not want to contribute out of their hard earned money.
Another method advocated is the introduction of the “Checkoff system,” under which an employer undertakes on the basis of a collective agreement, to deduct union dues from the worker’s pay and transfer the same to the union.
Multiplicity of Trade Unions:
Multiple trade unions are the biggest curse of Indian trade union movement. Existence of many unions each trying to compete with each other on membership drive and securing management support to recognise their union, not only weakens the trade union movement but also cause inter-union rivalry and disunity among the workers.
Leadership Issue:
Another disquieting feature of the trade unions is outside leadership, i.e., leadership of trade unions by persons who are professional politicians and lawyers and have no history of physical work in the industry. In many cases retired persons are also act as leaders ,leadership should be within the industry
Management Attitude:
Management, by and large, take an unhelpful attitude. Unionism is considered by them as an anathema. Union leaders, according to managers are trouble makers. They are there to break the harmony between the management and workers. They restrict the managers; power in decision-making, question their discretion and wisdom and obstruct their “right to manage”. Given this mindset, very often, they find fault with union for all difficulties faced by management; be it on low productivity, low quality, low profitability or lack of good will from customers. No doubt, some union leaders are also responsible for the negative image of their unions because of use of muscle power, money power and militant methods adopted by them which is called “irresponsible unionism”. Managers also take advantage of multiple trade unions and their inter-union rivalry by playing one against another. Another area is the recognition of trade union to become a bargaining agent. Management makes use of the loopholes of the existing labour legislation in with holding or delaying the recognition. Management considers trade union a legal obligation. This does not bring faith and good will.
Statutory Support:
Indian constitution considers formation of association as a fundamental right. Indian Trade Union Act allows any seven workers to join together and form a Trade union. Both give rise these file to formation of multiple trade unions which goes against the very concept of unionism-the unity workers. No central legislation now exists which makes it compulsory for management to recognize more than one unions or not to recognize anyone. This has further weakened the trade union and their bargaining power. The Indian Trade Union Act further allows 50 per cent of officer-bearers from outside the organization and 10 per cent of leadership from outside. This provision resulted politicisation, and remote control of union activities from outside the organisations. Even the “code of discipline” only recommend recognition of trade union as a voluntary action. Recognition of trade union causes rivalry from others who are not recognized. This problem can be tackled by bringing out comprehensive central legislation covering all aspects such as Recognition, Multiplicity, Outside leadership, etc.

Factors affecting workers in Modern World:
1.      The unemployment in India is effecting the present day worker, the employer can have his choice of worker as plenty of man power is available with him, so there is  a fear in the mind of the worker of losing his job ,  this fear is only restricted to un organised sectors .
2.      Modern day technology is affecting the worker, he has to adopt to the new technology otherwise he may have to lose his job for the youngsters, who have technology savvy.
3.      Modernisation is killing the jobs, less man power is required for doing the same job due to technology up gradation.   
4.      Privatisation of Government Jobs is a major threat, many of the Government jobs are privatised.   
5.      Inflation rate is at 5% , the money value has gone down , the wages are not increasing as much as inflation is increasing .
6.      The concept of need based minimum wage is still a dream, the worker is deprived of a proper wages and allowances, as due to competition especially in private industries ,this concept of need based minimum wage is not implemented in spirit of ILO convention.
7.      The many jobs in both Government and Private sector are done on contract basis , this phenomena of contract basis is catching fast and very dangerous.        

Conclusion :
           Comrades to fight against these policy’s, the both the members of the union / association and the leadership should be more serious in their approach. Now are never , organise and educate each and every worker / employee .
                        Save our Jobs for better future of our children.      
 Courtesy : CoC Karnatak

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