Problems of Trade Unions

Problems and Shortcomings of Trade Unions in India

The position of trade unionism in India is not very sound. In fact, the trade union movement is wanting in many respects. This is because of the fact that the Indian trade unions of today suffer from many problems. A brief account of these problems is given below:

1. Uneven Growth

Trade unions are concentrated in large scale industry sector and in big industrial centers. There is very little trade union activity in small scale sector, agricultural labour and domestic sector. Many workers still regard their employer as their masters and do not join unions. Differences of caste, language, religion etc. among workers also weakens trade unions. Trade unionism has touched only a portion of the working class in India.

2. Small Size

Most of the unions have low membership, though the number of unions and union membership are increasing average membership is inadequate. Any seven workers can form a union under the Trade Union Act, 1926 and get it registered. Most of the unions are plant unions and there is rivalry among the union leaders. As a result of these factors, a large number of small unions have grown.

3. Weak Financial Position

The financial position of the trade unions is very weak because their average yearly income is very low and inadequate. The subscription rates are low and many members do not pay the subscription in time. Workers are apathetic towards the unions and most of them are also poor. In order to increase the number of members, unions keep subscription rates low. Due to their financial weakness, most of the unions are not in a position to undertake welfare programmes for workers.

4. Political Leadership

Leadership of trade unions s not rooted in the working class. Trade unions are under the leadership and control of political parties and outsiders. Politicians exploit unions and workers for their personal and political gains. Strikes are organized and prolonged for personal prestige and negotiations with employer’s breakdown due to political considerations. Thus, the political leadership is very harmful to the trade union movement in India.

5. Multiplicity of Unions

The situation of multiple unions is said to prevail when two or more unions in the same plant or industry try to assert rival claims over each other and function with overlapping jurisdiction. Multiple unionism both at the plant and industry levels pose a serious threat to industrial peace and harmony of a country. The nature of competition tends to convert itself into a sense of unfair competition resulting in inter-union rivalry. The rivalry destroys the feeling of mutual trust and cooperation among leadership.

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