Dear members,
Please let me know, can contract labourer, who have worked in a single industry for more than 2 years, formed the seperate labour union. If yes, under which act they can formed the union. Are they registered under Trade union Act.
If they had given chartered of demand to the company, is it require to reply on that demand.

From Switzerland, Zurich
Right to form trade union or join any existing trade union is a fundamental right. An employee shall not be deprived of this right simply due to the reason that he is hired by an employer on a contract basis for a certain period.

I do not think that your interpretation of 'contract labour' is right. A contract labour is one who having been employed in a firm works for another. Here, the company under which roll the employee will depute him to work in another company. With regard to work, the employer for whom he works is the principal employer whereas, the employer who pays and under whom he is originally employed is the contractor and as such for the principal employer (where the work is carried out) the worker is a contract worker.

Under the above circumstance, such contract employees can form trade union or join an existing trade union. But the purpose of forming or joining trade union, ie, collective bargaining, shall be with contractor only and the firm where they work has no thing to do with it.
On the other hand, there are employees who are appointed by the employer himself for whom the worker works but will be treated as "ON CONTRACT FOR such and such months or years" just to deny any legal right of workmen. The agreement will clearly state that the employee is on contract basis and his "services will be terminated at any time without notice". Such style of appointments are also misinterpreted as 'contract employees'. In fact, this is not true. If these employees are engaged on works of regular and recurring nature, then they are regular employees. They have all rights of regular workmen.

If above is the situation, the employees will have equal status and can form or join trade union put forward their demands to the management/ employer.



From India, Kannur
Yes, I do agree with Madhu.
Contract Labour can form their union. To get its legal identity they have to register their union under Trade Unions Act, 1926 and Rules. The registered trade union of contract labour can submit their charter of demands to their contractor. Here the Company who engage the contract labour from contractor will be principal employer of the contract employee. As per Contract Labour Act, it is duty of principal employer to check that the contract labours are paid as per the provision of the law. Any demand above the law by way of charter of demand is an issue of industrial dispute and company should not directly entertain such things. It is primary responsibility of a contractor.

While said that, there are certain things to check before,
*whether company or contractor recognize the registered union as collective bargaining agent for the contract employees?
*Whether company had taken all legal precaution to avoid contract employee’s claim to absorb in company service or treat as permanent employee.

In my opinion such type of the issues is part of Industrial dispute and while dealing with such issue one has to find out the proper legal position and form strategy to deal with. Many industrial disputes are decided on merit of its legal position and the prevailing circumstances

From United States, Ogden
Dear Jaya
Yes contract labour can very well form their union and get them registered too under the provision of TU Act 1926. Also please note that registration is not sine qua non for a union . An unregistered union can also serve a charter of demands.
To take cognizance the the demand charter is upon you to decide. What kind of jobs they are engaged in to ? In case of any industrial action on their part what could be the consequences upon your working ? Is the Management ready to engage them into negotiations and if yes then up to what extent etc etc. These are some of the basic consideration for you. More you may discuss with your Management and other decision makers.

From India
I would request to guide me understand the following issues

Our company has 3 major outsourced contractor employing in non core areas people for more than 5 years. Last four years all employees of 3 contractors have formed an union and have chartered their demands. All guidelines as per the contract labour act is being followed at both ends (our org and contractors). Presently the union has registered itself in "Principal Employer's Name" and also has demanded in its new charter amongst other issues of (a) Non rotation of staff and (b) in case of termination / non renewal of contractor's contract, all staff of the contractor to be retained.

Kindly advise on (a) If at all can they form a union in principal employer's name and what options do we have?

(b) What steps can be taken in compliance of terms and conditions by contractor?

(c) Legal is there any binding on principal employer of retaining contractor's staff in case of contract termination?

It would be of great help if you all kindly advise and guide.

From India, Patna

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