Courses for Kids
Free study material
Offline Centres
Store Icon

Understanding Trade Unions

Last updated date: 17th Apr 2024
Total views: 170.1k
Views today: 4.70k
hightlight icon
highlight icon
highlight icon
share icon
copy icon

What Are Trade Unions?

A Protest held by a Trade Union

A Protest held by a Trade Union

Trade unions are autonomous, membership-based associations of workers who advocate for and engage in collective bargaining on behalf of the working class. They offer guidance to their members who have issues at work, speak on their behalf when interacting with employers, and negotiate better pay and working conditions.

Additionally, unions support members' educational and learning possibilities, advance equal opportunity at work, combat discrimination, and aid in guaranteeing a safe and healthy atmosphere at work. Unions also ensure that their employees' legal rights are upheld. Numerous unions offer their members services, including welfare benefits, private legal counsel, and financial support.

What is the need for a Trade union?

  • Engaging in collective agreements with the administration ensures that workers and employees have improved working conditions.

  • Providing workers with protection and monitoring employee hiring and firing.

  • Assisting management in the proper level of worker grievance remedies.

  • Referring a disagreement or issue to arbitration if it is not resolved.

  • Discuss management issues, including working hours, extra compensation, pay, and access to healthcare and other social programmes.

  • To foster collaboration with employers.

  • To stir up support for labour and workers in the general public.

What are the Characteristics of a Trade Union?

  • Association of Employees: A trade union is simply an organisation of workers who are members of a specific class of job, profession, trade, or business.

  • Association made Voluntarily: A worker voluntarily joins a union. No one can be forced to join a union.

  • Permanent: Trade unions are typically considered permanent bodies. Members may join and leave, yet the union is still in place.

  • Shared Interest: Members of a trade union come together over issues such as job security, better salary and conditions of employment, and other issues of common interest.

  • Group Action: When a single employee complains about a particular management decision, the trade union will step in to help resolve the issue.

What is the role of Trade Unions?

Employee unions play an important role in an organisation by doing the following -

  • through aiding in the hiring and choosing of employees.

  • through encouraging workplace discipline, allowing for the amicable resolution of labour conflicts, and assisting with societal adaptations. The new working environment and the new norms and procedures must be adopted by the workforce. Diverse backgrounds in the workforce may cause disarray, discontentment, and frustration. Unions assist them in making such adjustments.

  • lowering the incidence of labour disputes and instilling in workers a feeling of corporate social responsibility will promote and maintain national cohesion.

  • establishing industrial harmony

Significance of Trade Unions

Unions Fighting For People’s Rights

Unions Fighting For People’s Rights

  • Trade unions give workers a place to connect and get to know one another, which fosters a feeling of cooperation. They allow employees to play, relax, and experience the environment.

  • Trade unions are crucial in setting up face-to-face talks between employees and employers to resolve employee complaints. Trade unions are a useful tool for improving workplace relations.

  • To ensure that union workers have improved working conditions: By banding together under trade unions, employees can better demand that their employers provide all basic support for their employees and, if necessary, use agitation to do so.

  • To defend employees' desires: Trade unions protect workers' rights from mistreatment at the hands of employers.

  • To advance the interests of employees: Trade unions try to better the financial circumstances and difficulties of the workforce.

  • To ensure the well-being of their members, trade unions work to secure housing options. They also make arrangements for the union workers' children's schooling. Thus, the trade union works to advance the workers' socioeconomic well-being while also attempting to keep them away from bad practices.



When a worker is feeling especially helpless, a worker union gives them the chance to accomplish their goals with the aid of their fellow workers. It safeguards the financial interests of the workers and guarantees fair wage rates and wage schedules for them. In addition to receiving higher pay, unions assist their members in obtaining certain benefits. This is why unions are important.

FAQs on Understanding Trade Unions

1. What are the benefits of joining a Trade Union?

In rare circumstances, the union offers cash help during times of illness or other emergencies. It facilitates negotiations between employees and management and serves as a tool for resolving conflicts. A union unifies the workforce under one banner and encourages members to use peaceful means to meet their demands, which is also advantageous to the business. The workers gain confidence from joining a union and come to feel like valuable members of the company. It helps the workers advance to senior positions and offers promotions and education.

2. History of Trade Unions.

When textile mills were first constructed in Bombay in 1851, the first trade union was organised there. With the opening of jute mills in Calcutta in 1854, trade unions also developed there. C.P. Mazumdar and Shorabji Shapuri Bengali were among the leaders of these first labour upheavals in the nation. The Madras Textile Workers' strike was noteworthy. The first world war's worsened lifestyle and exposure to the outside world led to a rise in class awareness among the workforce. The growth of the movement found fertile footing as a result. The early trade union era is referred to as this time frame.

3. How many people does it require to start a Trade Union?

Since a Trade Union makes decisions for the employees’ good, it relies on collective community action to do so. Therefore, it requires the demography of workers from all aspects of administration. It takes more than 7 people to start a trade union. This must contain employees from all faces of the company, including administrative managers, sanitation workers, and executives. Most of these include members with a shared interest within themselves who strive to make changes to improve a work environment.