Prelims level : Trade Unions Act, 1926 Mains level :
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GS 2: Polity | Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections

Why in news?

The Union Cabinet has approved Amendment to the Trade Unions Act, 1926 to make provisions regarding Recognition of Trade Unions.


  • The proposed Bill will ensure that the nomination of workers’ representatives in tripartite bodies by the government will become more transparent.
  • Trade Unions so recognized would be accountable in maintaining industrial harmony.
  • Recognition of Trade Unions at Central/State level would reduce duplicacy of such exercise by different departments. Recognized Trade Unions may be assigned specific roles at Central or State level.

Benefits of the Amendments:

The approval will facilitate:

  • Recognition of Trade Unions at Central and State level;
  • Ensure true representation of workers in the tripartite bodies;
  • Check on the arbitrary nomination of workers’ representatives by the Government
  • Reduce litigations and industrial unrest
  • Indian Trade Unions Act, 1926:

    • The legislation regulating the trade unions is the Indian Trade Unions Act, 1926.
    • The Act deals with the registration of trade unions, their rights, their liabilities and responsibilities as well as ensures that their funds are utilized properly.
    • It gives legal and corporate status to the registered trade unions.
    • It also seeks to protect them from civil or criminal prosecution so that they could carry on their legitimate activities for the benefit of the working class.
    • The Act is applicable not only to the union of workers but also to the association of employers and extends to whole of India.

    Also, certain Acts, namely, the Societies Registration Act, 1860; the Co-operative Societies Act, 1912; and the Companies Act, 1956 shall not apply to any registered trade union, and that the registration of any such trade union under any such Act shall be void.

    Trade Unions in India:

    • The credit for the first association of Indian workers is generally given to the Bombay Mill-Hands Association founded by N.M. Lokhande in 1890.
    • This was in the period just after the passing of the ‘First’ Factories Act in 1881 by the
      • British Government of the time.
    • The following years saw the formation of several labour associations and unions.
    • The first clearly registered trade-union is considered to be the Madras Labour Union founded by B.P. Wadia in 1918.
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