Dear All, I have one doubt, Workmen will join a registered trade union, before joining the trade union are they required to inform the establishment they will be joining the registered trade union, Please explain what is the role of any establishment (Preprocess).
From India, Bangalore

There is no requirement, statutory or by practice, that mandates an employee to inform his employer about joining a trade union. But in certain special circumstances it may be needed. Like there is an agreement with one union claiming to represent all workmen. If another union objects to the agreement and demands that the benefits of the agreement shall not be provided to its union members, then the management can seek the endorsement of the demand by individual trade union members . In the event of check off system being implemented (i.e., the management deducting union subscription fees from the salary of the employees) then also the employees can be required to inform the name of union to which they belong. Another instance would be when the verification of membership is to be done to determine the bargaining agent. So as a general rule the union affiliation of individual employees need not be disclosed to the management but in special circumstances it may be required.
From India, Mumbai
Hi Anil,
Also, no employer or union can compel any employee(s) to become a member of the union either, As the membership is voluntary. That doesn't mean a non-member forfeit the rights & privileges other union members are enjoying.
In addition you also go thru' the discussions in this link-

From India, Bangalore
Dear Sir,
Thanks for the valuable information. Can management oppose to enter any union in to their establishments. Because wage agreement to be done with the joint concern of management and workman. Really i have 11 years of experience in HR, none of them given on clarity of the above question. Generally without approval of management can able to enter trade union. Is there any legal procedure to enter any establishments. Please advice on priority.
Anil Kumar K T

From India, Bangalore
Dear colleague,

Under the Indian Trade Union Act/Rules, any seven workmen can form the Union which is their fundamental right and any opposition from the Management will meet with serious legal/social consequences .

Usually, the modus operandi is some disgruntled group of workers approach outsider well known Leader who organizes them by soliciting membership secretly and one fine morning , the management receives the letter of union formation together with request to deal with it on matters of collective bargaining.

Of course some organizations attempt to break the union successfully or unsuccessfully but with accompanying backlash. But prudent approach is to recognise its presence and develop cooperative relationship and resolve issues across the table through bilateral discussions.


Vinayak Nagarkar
HR and Employee Relations Consultant

From India, Mumbai
Hi Anil,

From your post your points are - i) whether a Union(representatives/office bearers) can enter the office/other premises and ii) in the matter of negotiations & settlement/agreement with whom the management has to interact.

There is no restrictions as to who can form the union(s). Any group of employees can form union subject to the conditions stipulated in the act. It could be either with affiliations or can be independent as well, no compulsions. And registration has to be obtained from the ALC of the relevant jurisdiction. These regd.formations should obtain the recognition of the management and can function independently or with unison on matters for common benefits of employees and/or taken up matters concerning welfare of employees. In order to avoid confusion law permits, there shall be only one recognized union as the single formation duly elected amongst all the regd unions for the given period. While doing so they need to discuss with various officials of the management. Though management is within their prerogative to discuss only with the elected & recognised union often it couldn't restricted only with the elected one for obvious reasons. Like political/social and/or with a view to maintain rapport with all formations for future developments. So you'll have the right to deny entry of unions to those are not elected/recognised unions, provided you'll have every tactic in your armor to tackle the situations wrought in a particular moment. As a shrewd HR moderator, you'll know in the course of your tenure whom to receive warmly and whom to avoid for the moment in a way fitting within your constraints.

With regard to settlement & enter into agreement on issues delibrate, you are duty bound to sign the settlement only with the elected/recognised union. Sometimes major issues., long terms settlement such as wages, leave, incentive schemes, bonus rationalisation of manpower, welfare measures etc. would call for consensus of all regd.unions in which case the agreement can be signed by all the regd. unions and involvement of ALC as a tripartite agreement is a welcome strategy of the management. How you'll bring all the regd.unions on one platform is the secret of success of any HR team and the wisdom of management.

I can cite for example of labour/IR policies of TATA group for others to emulate. I have not heard of any TATA estt (having their presence in almost all sectors, world over) stalmated with labour troubles in modern era, Uno-WB project which ultimately shifted to Gujarat notwithstanding.

From India, Bangalore
Thank you very much sir for the valuable information on my query
From India, Bangalore
Hi Anil,

The formation of a trade union is a fundamental right of workmen as constitutinally available to them and they dont need to seek consent from the managment or employer .

As regards recognition of a registrered union , it is the discretion of managemnt /employer as to whom should be recognised and at the same time you cannot brush aside the demand of a registered union possessing majority workmen as members ,claiming recognition as otherwise it may be an unfair labour practice.

If you have multiple unions claiming recognition and the employer not being satisfied with the real membership strength of such unions , you can seek the help of Labour Department for conducting a membership verification thro' secret poll and and the Labour Departmnet officials who would organise a secret poll and adjudge and declare the union ,commanding majority of membership and thereupon you cane induct that union as recognised union.

Check off system in a multiple union environment pose lot of problems like dual membership and issues of collctive bargaining involving differnt unions with different ideologies ,leading to inter union rivalries at the cost of managemnet and in this scenerio major issues like wage negotiation becomes next to impossible and eventually such unresolved matters would be sciezed by Labour Department concilaition officials as an industrial dispute with its pros and cons .

The HR should have the diplomacy and ingeunity to interact with so called union leaders so to see that the matter is pushed to Labour Department and find a solution to such tricky situation as it is better to sail along with all such fancied leaders of minority union in terms of membership without losing the focus in the overall industrial relations and harmony .

Please not that in the pursuit of industrial relations managemnet , the pragmatic wisdom and legal approaches should be applied with dexterity so as to maintain the equlibrium in terms of Human Relatiosnhip and Productity.



From India, Chennai

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