Brief Description of Employees’ and Employers’ Associations
At least 10% of the workmen or 100 workmen at the establishment (whichever is lesser, subject however to a minimum of 7) must be members of the trade union at the time of making an application for registration. The registration of a trade union under the Trade Unions Act must be distinguished from the process of ‘recognition’ of a trade union. Recognition is the process through which an employer agrees to negotiate with representatives of a trade union on aspects such as working conditions, wages etc., on behalf of particular group of workers. Refusal by an employer to collectively bargain in good faith, with a recognised trade union (and vice versa) qualifies as an ‘unfair labour practice’, of which imprisonment is one of such consequence.
Rights and Importance of Trade Unions
The Constitution of India guarantees the fundamental right of all citizens to form associations or unions, including the right to form or join trade unions. Trade unions have immense significance both for the wellbeing of the industrial establishment and for the society at large as well. Trade unions play a major role in negotiating better work conditions for employees, settlement of existing disputes and in reducing instances of industrial disputes. They can also assist in the recruitment and selection of workers and help them adjust better to the organizational structure and hierarchy.
Employees’ Representation in Management
Works and grievance redressal committees are only required where the requisite employee threshold is satisfied. Trade unionization is India is entrenched primarily in the traditional manufacturing sectors, though the IT sector has recently seen some unionization as well.
Other Types of Employee Representative Bodies
In every factory where a hazardous process takes place or where hazardous substances are used or handled, the occupier shall set up a ‘safety committee’. In factories where there are 250 or more employees, a canteen is required to be provided by the employer which is then to be managed by a committee which would also have representatives of workmen. Safety committees are also required to be set up in mines where there are 100 or more persons employed.