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Define Trade Union. Discuss the Rights and Liabilities of a registered Trade Union. Explain the registration procedure of the trade union under the Trade Unions Act, 1926?

.  TRADE UNION (Sec. 2 (h)]:

Trade Union means any combination, whether temporary or permanent, formed primarily for the purpose of regulating the relations between workmen and employers or between workmen and workmen or between employers and employers for imposing restrictive conditions on the conduct of any trade or business and includes any federation of two or more Trade Unions. 

Provided that this Act shall not affect :-

  • Any agreement between partners as to their own business; 
  • Any agreement between an employer and those employed by him as to such employment; 
  • Any agreement in consideration of the sale of the goodwill of a business or of instruction in any profession trade or handicraft.

The law relating to the registration and protection of the Trade Unions is contained in the Trade Unions Act, 1926 which came into force with effect from 1st June 1927. The Act extends to the whole of India .

Rights and Liabilities of a registered Trade Union:

> Objects on Which General Funds May Be Spent:

Funds of a general trade union cannot be spent on any other objects than the payment of salaries, allowances and expenses to the office bearers of the trade unions; expenses for the administration of the trade union; the presentation or defiance of any legal proceeding to which the trade union or any member thereof is a party; the conduct of trade disputes and compensation of members for loss arising out of trade disputes; provision of education, social or religious benefits for members; upkeep of a periodical published. 

► Constitution of a Separate Fund for Political Purposes:

A registered trade union may constitute a separate fund, from contributions, separately levied for or made to that fund, from which payments may be made for the promotion of the civic and political interests of its members, in furtherance of any of the objects such as the payment of any expenses incurred, either directly or indirectly.

► Criminal Conspiracy in Trade Disputes:

Under this act, no office-bearer or member of a registered trade union shall be liable to punishment under sub-section (2) of Section 120 B of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 in respect of any agreement made between the members for the purpose of furthering any such object of the trade union as is specified in section its unless the agreement is an agreement to commit an offence. 

► Immunity from Civil Suit in Certain Cases:

A registered trade union shall not be liable in any suit or other legal proceeding in any civil court in respect of any fortuitous act done in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute by an agent of the trade union if it is proved that such person acted without the knowledge of, or contrary to express instructions given by the executive of the trade unions.

Enforceability of Agreements:

Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, an agreement between the members of a registered trade union shall not be void or voidable merely by reason of the fact that any to the subjects of the agreement are in restraint of the trade.

Right to Inspect Books of Trade Unions:

The account books of a registered trade union and the list of members thereof shall be open to inspection by an office-bearer or member of the trade union at such times as may be provided for in the rules of the trade union.

Right of Minors to Membership of Trade Unions:

Any person who has attained the age of 18 years may be a member of a registered trade union subject to any rules of the trade union to the contrary, and may subject as aforesaid, enjoy all the rights of a member and execute all instruments and give all acquaintances necessary to be executed or given under the rules.

Effects of Change of Name and of Amalgamation:

The change in the name of a registered trade union shall not affect any rights or obligations of the trade union or render defective any legal proceeding by or against the trade union. An amalgamation of 2 or more registered trade unions shall not prejudice any right of any of such trade unions or any right of a creditor of any of them.

Dissolution of Trade Union:

  • Notice of dissolution signed by secretary and 7 member of the Trade Union, should be sent to the Registrar of the Trade Union within 14 days from the date of the dissolution of the trade Union.

  • If registrar satisfies with provisions and rules followed by the members of the Trade Union for dissolution, he will confirm the dissolution.

  • Funds shall be divided by the Registrar among its members if there is no rules mention by the Trade Union in distribution of the funds.

Returns to the Register:

Every registered Trade Union shall have to submit annually to the Registrar a general statement of all receipts and expenditures during the year ended the 31st day of December. Such a statement shall be accompanied by another statement containing assets and liabilities of Trade Union as existing on 31st December each year.

Registration procedure of The Trade Unions Act, 1926:

> Appointment of Registrars:

According to section 3 of the Act, the appropriate government shall appoint a person to be the Registrar of Trade Unions for each state, and the appropriate government shall also appoint as many additional registrars as it may deem fit to carry out the purposes of the Act.

Mode of Registration:

According to section 4 of the Act, any seven or more members of a Trade Union in accordance with the provisions of the Act may make an application apply for registration of the trade union. There are two conditions subsequent to the same, firstly no trade union of workmen shall be registered unless at least 10% or 100 of the workmen, whichever is less engaged in the employment of the establishment are its members on the date of making of its application and secondly no trade union shall be registered unless on the date of making of application, minimum seven of its members who are workmen are employed in the establishment or industry.

         Also, such application shall not be deemed to be invalid merely on the ground that at any time after the date of the application, but before the registration of the trade union some of the members but not exceeding half of the total number of persons who made the application has ceased to be members.

> Application for registration:

According to section 5 of the Act, every application for the registration of the trade union shall be made to the Registrar and shall be accompanied by a copy of the rules of the Trade Union and a statement of the following particulars namely -

  1. The names, occupations and addresses of the members making the application; 
  2. The name of the trade union and the address of its head office, and
  3. The titles, names, ages, addresses and occupations of the office-bearers of the trade union.

       Where a trade union has been into existence for more than year, then a copy of the assets and liabilities shall also be submitted along with the application for registration.

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