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Rights Of Trade Union In India

Trade union is based on the concept of collective bargaining.[1] According to International Labour Organization collective bargaining is a fundamental right and accepted as part of right to work under ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (1998). The concept of collective bargaining is recognized by the Constitution of India.[2] The International Labour Organization Convention No. 154 has defined collective bargaining[3] as negotiation between the employer and the workers' union in respect of working conditions or terms of employment.

The Constitution of India[4] is the country's main legislation.
The Constitution of India protects and promotes the right to collective bargaining under Article 19 of the Constitution of India under two significant provisions:
  1. Freedom of speech and expression:
    Article 19(1)(a) provides the right to freedom of speech and expression which is one of the most important fundamental rights which provide every citizen to express their views or to express dissent. Thus, every citizen has the right to speech and expression, which can be exercised individually or in groups.
  2. The right to form an association or union:
    Article 19(1)(c) provides the right to form an association or union which can be said to the foundation of the trade unions in India.

Rights of Trade Union

The Trade Union Act, 1926[5] was adopted to provide procedures for the registration of trade unions in India and provides for legal provisions related to the registered trade union. The Act sets forth the rights and responsibilities of a registered trade union under Chapter III of the Trade Union Act, 1926.

It is important to note that the provisions of the Act, including the rights conferred under the Unions Act, 1926, apply only to registered unions. A registered trade union is given a certificate of registration by the Registrar which is conclusive evidence that the trade union has complied with the provisions of the Trade Union Act.

Upon completion of the registration process, the trade union becomes a legal entity[6] and acquires the rights of a similar legal entity[7]:
  1. Perpetual succession
  2. Common seal
  3. Power to acquire and hold both movable and immovable property
  4. To contract
  5. The right to sue and be sued

The right to create funds:

A union may establish a general fund for use in accordance with the Act. A trade union can also create a separate fund to be used for political purposes only. The General Fund and the Political Fund shall be administered separately in accordance with the provisions of the Trade Unions Act, 1926.

Criminal conspiracy:

A criminal conspiracy is an offense under section 120B of the Indian Penal Code. No office bearer or any member of the trade union can be charged for criminal conspiracy if such act is done for the furtherance of the lawful objects of the trade union.

Immunity from civil suit in certain matters:

The office bearer and members of a trade union have immunity from civil suit in certain matters which is done for furtherance of the object of the trade union.

Right to inspect books and a list of members:

Office bearer and member of a trade union has right to inspect the account books of a trade union. The office bearer or any member of the trade union have right to see the list of the members of the trade union.

Minor Law:

A minor is a person who has not attained the age of majority. A minor has who has attained the age of 15 can become of a Union and enjoys all the rights of a member. A minor cannot be appointed as the office bearer of a trade union.

Name change:

A trade union subject to the requirements of the Act may request a name change.


Amalgamation is combining two or more trade unions into a single a unit. The process of amalgamation is given in the Trade Union Act, 1926 and after completion of the process; the Registrar shall register the trade union as a new trade unions.


The Union is a vital part of industrial peace and progress. It helps protect workers' rights and represents and negotiates on behalf of workers. It helps to ensure that workers receive better wages and better working conditions. Trade unions play a major role in labour relations. A trade union is a link between employer and workers. The Constitution of India has very well provided for the welfare of workers by granting the fundamental right to form an association or union. The union plays a crucial role in industrial peace and development and protects workers' rights.

  2. Article 19(1 )(c) of the Constitution of India
  6. Body corporate
Written by: Savita Yashvant Kale, MSW, Yashwantrao Chavan School of Social Work, Satara
I am thankful to Mr Bhaishailendra Mane (Incharge Vice Principle) for his guidance

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