Centre proposes to amend Trade Unions Act

Most trade unions are vehemently opposed to the move

Published - January 02, 2019 09:41 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Tapan Kumar Sen

Tapan Kumar Sen

The Centre proposes to amend the Trade Unions Act, 1926, to facilitate recognition of trade unions at the Central and federal level. The Union Cabinet approved the amendment on Wednesday.

Most trade unions, however, vehemently opposed the proposed amendments, claiming that the government was trying to interfere in and cripple their functioning. Ten Central trade unions had earlier written to the Labour Ministry objecting to the draft version of the amendment Bill; the only major stand-out was the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

The amendment will “ensure that the nomination of workers’ representatives in tripartite bodies by the government will become more transparent…and reduce litigations and industrial unrest,” according to an official statement. Trade unions which are recognised under the amended law “would be accountable in maintaining industrial harmony, and may be assigned specific roles at Central or State level,” it said.

“This is a dilution of the Trade Unions Act,” said Tapan Sen, general secretary of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-affiliated Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU). He said the amendments were politically motivated, and would only give power to the government itself.

“We have opposed the interference of the government in the recognition of trade unions,” said Amarjeet Kaur, general secretary of the CPI-affiliated All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), pointing out that there were already established procedures in place to verify the Central and State unions.

She alleged that the amendments would give the government final authority in case of disputes within or between the unions. “Why should they enter the autonomous domain of the functioning of unions? The real issue is that they want to cripple and stifle the unions,” she said.

Ten Central trade unions have issued a joint general strike call on January 8 and 9.

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