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Labour Unions

Concept and
Unions are an integral part of
organisation.Simply,a trade
union/labour union is a contineous
association of wage earners for the
purpose of maintaining or improving
the conditions of their working lives.
A union is an organisation of
workers,acting collectively,seeking to
promote and protect its mutual
interests through collective
According to 2(h) of the trade union
Act 1928,a trade union meansany
combination,whether temporary or
permanent,formed primarily for the
purpose of

(a) Regulating the relations

()between workmen and employers
()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
Hence, Trade Unions are voluntary
organizations of workers and
employers formed to protect and
promote their interests through
collective bargaining/action.

General features of labour unions

can be analysed as:
Organisation having
goal,technology,structure and
Relatively permanen t in nature
Collectivity- individual interests are
sacrificed for the sake of group
Collective bargaining
Mutual interests- members seek to
promote and protect their mutual

In other words, Trade Union can

be defined as a contineous and
voluntary association of the salary
and wage earners and engaged in
whatever industry or trade, formed
for protecting the members
interests, improving the conditions
of their working lives, and
ensuring better relations between
them and their employers, through
collective bargaining.
Thus, trade union is an
organisation of workers formed to
further the social ,economic and
political interests of its members.


Finally, on the basis of above concepts, it

reveals that a trade union must be:
A combination of workers or employers,
Such a combination could be permanent
or temporary
Could include federation of two or more
To regulate relations among
workmen,between workmen and
employers or among employers
Objectives of Labour Unions
Workers join a union with a rational
approach.They use to join Unions to
protect themselves against exploitation by
the management.Employees join Unions
because they provide job security, wages
and benefits,need to belong,and fair


Mainly, workmen get unionized for these

Job Dissatisfaction- Dissatisfied employees
seek Union membership to improve work
Lack of Power- Employees believe Unionization
fetch them power. power,in turn,is believed to
remove dissatisfaction.
Union Instrumentality Employees take Unions
as instruments to remove dissatisfaction
However, the goals/objectives of Union or the
reasons behind joining unions by employees
Higher wages and Benefits
Greater job security
Influence work Rules
Obtain political power

Types of labour unions:

In general there are three types of labour
1. An industrial union- composed primarily of
semi-skilled blue-color employees in the
manufacturing industries, often known as
vertical union.
2. A trade union- also known as craft union is an
association of workers cutting across many
companies and industries, often known as
horizontal union,i.e, unions of carpenters,
electricians and rikshaw pullers etc.
3. An employee association- also called fraternal
union, generally composed of white-collars or
professional employees,i.e, teachers union,
police officers union,doctors union,etc

Functions of Labour Unions:

Trade unions today are pluralist in nature.Trade
unions functions or activities are not only to
defend or improve the wages and conditions of
labour but also raise the status of workmen in
social and national life.However, some of the
functions of labour unions can be pointed out as:
Collective Bargaining-Unions are able to get higher
pay and benefits package for their members.
Job Security- Unions play important role to
guarantee jobs,income,and fair treatment for the
duration of contract.
Better Working Conditions- Unions protest unfair
conditions and improve quality of worklife.
Influence Work Rules- Unions ensure administration
of work rules.
Obtain Political Power- Unions are lobbying groups
for political parties,it helps them in gaining political
Employees Unity

Process of Forming Union:

Legal Drive---Organising Drive---Registration------Election-------Recognition
In Nepal,the Trade Union Act,1993 provides
the legal basis for the organisation of unions.
Then, the Organising campaign for the union
is started. Athorization for organising an union
should be provided by a specified number of
employees.National and International Unions
may initiate organising campaign.
Then,application is filed with the appropriate
authority to register the Union. In Nepal, the
Labour Department is the governments
registration agency for labour unions.
The election is held to elect the office-bearers
of the union. It is done by secret ballot.
Lastly, the duly elected union is recognised by
management for collective bargaining.The
union becomes the legal representative of