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Indian Trade Unions Act, 1926

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On the recommendation of Royal Commission of Labour, the then British Government enacted the Indian Trade Unions Act, 1926. It has 33 sections divided into 5 chapters.

Act No 16 of 1926

25th March, 1926

An Act to provide for the registration of Trade Unions and in certain respects to define the law relating to registered Trade Unions 2

Sections of the Act

Chapter I

  • Sections 1 and 2, which explains the provisions about Preliminary. Section 2 defines various terms
  • Section 1: Short title, extent and commencement
  • Section 2: Definitions

Chapter II

  • II - Sections 3 to 14 - Registration of Trade Unions
  • Section 3: Appointment of Registrars
  • Section 4: Mode of registration
  • Section 5: Application for registration
  • Section 6: Provisions to be contained in the rules of a Trade Union
  • Section 7: Power to call for further particulars and to require alteration of name
  • Section 8: Registration
  • Section 9: Certificate of registration
  • Section 10: Cancellation of registration
  • Section 11: Appeal
  • Section 12: Registered office
  • Section 13: Incorporation of registered Trade Unions
  • Section 14: Certain Acts not to apply to registered Trade Unions

Chapter III: Rights and Liabilities of Registered Trade Unions

  • Section 15: Objects on which general funds may be spent
  • Section 16: Constitution of a separate fund for political purposes
  • Section 17: Criminal conspiracy in trade disputes
  • Section 18: Immunity from civil suit in certain cases
  • Section 19: Enforceability of agreements
  • Section 20: Right to inspect books of Trade Union
  • Section 21: Rights of minors to membership of Trade Unions
  • Section 22: Proportion of office-bearers to be connected with the industry
  • Section 23: Change of name
  • Section 24: Amalgamation of Trade Unions
  • Section 25: Notice of change of name or amalgamation
  • Section 26: Effects of change of name and of amalgamation
  • Section 27: Dissolution
  • Section 28: Returns

Chapter IV: Regulation

  • IV - Sections 29 and 30 - Delegates the power to the Government to make Regulations
  • Section 29:
  • Section 30: Publication of regulations

Chapter V: Penalties and Procedure

  • Section 31: Failure to submit returns
  • Section 32: Supplying false information regarding Trade Unions
  • Section 33: Congnizance of offences

History of Trade Union Movement in India

The history of Trade Union movement in India can be studied in three periods.

  • Period prior to the First World War (1875 - 1917)
  • Period between the two World Wards and prior to Indian Independence (1918-1946)
  • Post-Independence (1947 to 1999)

Period prior to First World War

The movements was first led by Pure nationalists, social workers, philanthropists and humanists. NM Lokhande published Deenabandhu, a workers magazine that published stories about miserable situations of workers.

Bombay Milhands' Association was formed in 1890 by Lokhande. It is the first Trade Union in India. Few trade unions were later formed during this period.

The British Government appointed some Commissions during this period after the agitations.

  • Bombay Factories Commission (1884)
  • Indian Factory Labour Commission (1908)

Period between the two World Wars and prior to Independence

The Russian Socialist Revolution under the leadership of Lenin gave hope to Indian workers.

Marxism vs Gandhism

According to Marxist, Capital is always evil. The more capital increases the more greediness in the capitalists. Karl Marx preaches revolution and Violence.

Gandhian theory is based on principles of Truth and Non-Violence.

  • Indian Trade Unions Act, 1926 is the first labour law on trade unions.
  • The first trade union federation AITUC was formed in 1920

Post Independence Period

Several Trade Unions came into existence.

  • All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC): Formed in 1920. Gradually went into the hands of Communists. AITUC later was completely in the hands of Communist Party of India (CPI) after the communists split in 1964.
  • Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC): Formed in May 1947. Sponsors the policies and ideologies of Congress party
  • Hindu Mazdoor Sabha (HMS): Follows policies and ideologies of Janata Party
  • Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS): Sponsors ideologies and policies of Bharatiya Janata Party
  • United Trade Union Congress (UTUC) : Formed by Revolutionary Socialist Party of India. Sponsors policies of Communist Party (Leninist)
  • Centre of Indian Trade Union (CITU): Follows policies of CPI (M)
  • IFTU: CPI(M)