Labour Law & Hr Consultant
Insolvency N Gst Professional
Korgaonkar K A
+1 Other

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Can contract worker be member of a trade union of regular employees of an organization?
Dear Rajkumar,
Basically, a trade union is a permanent and closed association of certain class of individuals engaged in any trade or industry. Therefore, generally, contract labor by virtue of its migrancy consequent on the Contractor's migrant business can not become members of the trade union which functions exclusively for the regular workmen of the Principal Employer's establishment. However, if the by-laws of such union permits the admission of contract labor of the same establishment, of course there would be no legal bar.

Dear Umakanthan Sir,
With due respect to you, I would like to differ with you slightly here though you did mention the word "generally".
It is a fundamental right of every labour to form trade union or join any existing trade union. There should not be a bar on labour to join the union of PE's labours or not to admit any contract labour as a member by the union of PE's labours whether exclusively or otherwise.
I respect your view on Contract labours due to the nature of migrant business of the contractor, can not become members of the trade union of PE's labours exclusively but today we see no migrancy and contracts are shame and bogus.

Chander Bhan, etc versus Sunbeam Autoworkers Union in the Gurgaon District Court.
In a judgment that went largely unnoticed, the court ruled that any workman employed by a factory — irrespective of whether he was a permanent worker or not, fulfilled the Industrial Dispute (ID) Act’s definition of workman or not — was eligible to participate in union activities.
Section 2 (g) of the Trade Union Act , which defines “workmen”, for the purposes of a trade union, as “all persons employed in trade or industry whether or not in the employment of the employer with whom the trade dispute arises”.
In my opinion, there is no legal bar but permanent employees have different interests and long term interests which may not match with contract labour and they would not be entertained as members.

Dear Korgaonkarji and Mr.Rao,
I do not question the right of the contract labor to form their own union as a particular class of workmen or to join a General Workers' Union functioning in the area where the Principal Employer's establishment is situated. The system of contract labor in any establishment is despicable to its regular workmen as it starts gradually eating up a major chunk of direct employment. Therefore, in actual practice, no union of regular employees of any establishment would admit the contract labor employed therein for the reasons well-said by Mr.Rao. As Mr.Korgaonkar rightly observed the practice of engaging contract labor after the advent of LPG era is constantly on the increase and my educated guess is that it would be around 70% in labor intensive sector for the obvious reason of flexibility of hire and fire. To make the situation still worse, the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Central Rules,1946 has been amended recently to permit Fixed Term Contract Employments which would also likely to be misused as the conventional Contract Labor system of indirect employment.

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