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REGISTRATION OF TRADE UNION UNDER ‘THE INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS CODE, 2020’

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REGISTRATION OF TRADE UNION UNDER ‘THE INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS CODE, 2020’
By: Mr. M. GOVINDARAJAN
October 6, 2020
All Articles by: Mr. M. GOVINDARAJAN       View Profile
  • Contents

Trade Unions Act, 1926

The procedure for registration of a trade union is dealt with in Chapter II of the Trade Unions Act, 1926 as detailed below-

  • Section 3 – Appointment of Registrars;
  • Section 4 – Mode of registration;
  • Section 5 – Application for Registration;
  • Section 6 – Provisions to be contained in the Rules of a Trade Union;
  • Section 7 – Power to call for further particulars and to require the alteration of the name;
  • Section 8 – Registration;
  • Section 9 – Certificate of Registration;
  • Section 10 – Cancellation of Registration;
  • Section 11 – Appeal;
  • Section 12 – Registered Office;
  • Section 13 – Incorporation of Registered Unions.

Industrial Relations Code, 2020

The present Government in the intention of bringing changes and reforms in the labor laws made several Codes.  One among them is ‘The Industrial Relations Code, 2020’ which has got the assent of the President of India but the provisions of the Act have not yet come into force.  The Code has twelve chapters containing 104 sections and three schedules.  The framework of the Code is as below-

  • Chapter I – Preliminary -  Sections 1 – 2;
  • Chapter II – Bi-partite Forums – Sections 3 – 4;
  • Chapter III – Trade Unions – Sections 5 – 27;
  • Chapter IV – Standing Orders – Sections 28 – 39;
  • Chapter V – Notice of change – Sections 40 – 41;
  • Chapter VI – Voluntary reference of disputes to arbitration – Section 42;
  • Chapter VII – Mechanism for Industrial Disputes – Section 43 – 57;
  • Chapter VIII – Strikes and lock outs – Section 62 – 64;
  • Chapter IX – Lay off, Retrenchment and Closure – Section 65  - 76;
  • Chapter X – Special provisions relating to lay off, retrenchment and closure in certain cases – Sections 77 – 82;
  • Chapter XI – Worker Re-skilled Fund – Section 83;
  • Chapter XII – Unfair Labour Practices – Section 84;
  • Chapter XIII – Offences and Penalties – Sections 85 – 89;
  • Chapter XIV – Miscellaneous;’
  • First Schedule – Matters to be provided in Standing Orders under this Code;
  • Second Schedule – Unfair labor practices;
  • Third Schedule – Conditions of service for change of which notice is to be given.

Trade Union

The expression ‘trade union’ is defined under section 2(zl) of the Code as any combination, whether temporary or permanent, formed primarily for the purpose of regulating the relations between workers and employers or between workers and workers, or between employers and employers, or for imposing restrictive conditions on the conduct of any trade or business, and includes any federation of two or more Trade Unions. 

The provisions of this Code in relation to ‘trade union’ shall not affect-

  • any agreement between partners as to their own business; or
  • any agreement between an employer and those employed by him as to such employment; or
  • any agreement in consideration of the sale of the goodwill of a business or of instruction in any profession, trade or handicraft.

Registrar of trade unions

The State Government may appoint Registrar of Trade Unions to register the trade unions and monitor the activities of the registered trade union.  The State Government may also appoint Additional Registrar of Trade Unions, Joint Registrar of Trade Unions and Deputy Registrar of Trade Unions to carry out the functions as prescribed by the State Government under this Code.

Where an Additional Registrar of Trade Unions, Joint Registrar of Trade Unions or Deputy Registrar of Trade Unions exercises power and functions in an area within which the registered office of a trade union is situated, such officer shall be deemed to be the Registrar of Trade Unions.

Registration of existing trade unions

Every Trade Union registered under the Trade Unions Act, 1926 having valid registration immediately before the commencement of this Code shall be deemed to have been registered under this Code.  Such Trade Union shall file with the Registrar a statement that the constitution of the executive of the Trade Union is in accordance with this Code along with the rules of the Trade Union and the Registrar shall amend his records accordingly.

Criteria for registration

Minimum number of members required for registration of a trade union is seven.  In case of a trade union of an industrial establishment the minimum numbers of a trade union of that industrial establishment shall be ten percent of the workers of one hundred workers whichever is less working in that industrial establishment.  This minimum strength should be in existence throughout the existence of the registered trade union.

Rules

The trade union, before applying for registration shall frame a rule for the purpose of its own members.  The Rules may provide for-

  • the name of the Trade Union;
  • the whole of the objects for which the Trade Union has been established;
  • the whole of the purposes for which the general funds of the Trade Union shall be applicable, all of which purposes shall be purposes to which such funds are lawfully applicable under this Code;
  • the maintenance of a list of members of the Trade Union and adequate  facilities for the inspection thereof by the office-bearers and members of the Trade Union;
  • the admission of ordinary members (irrespective of their craft or category) who shall be persons actually engaged or employed in the industrial establishment, undertaking or industry, or units, branches or offices of an industrial establishment, as the case may be, with which the Trade Union is connected, and also the admission of such number of honorary or temporary members, who are not such workers, as are not permitted under section 21 to be office-bearers to form the executive of the Trade Union;
  • the payment of a subscription by members of the Trade Union from such members and others, as may be prescribed;
  • the conditions under which any member shall be entitled to any benefit assured by the rules and under which any fine or forfeiture may be imposed on any member;
  • the annual general body meeting of the members of the Trade Union, the business to be transacted at such meeting, including the election of office-bearers of the Trade Union;
  • the manner in which the members of the executive and the other office bearers of the Trade Union shall be elected once in a period of every three years and removed, and filling of casual vacancies;
  • the safe custody of the funds of the Trade Union, an annual audit, in such  manner as may be prescribed, of the accounts thereof, and adequate facilities for the inspection of the account books by the office-bearers and members of the Trade Union;
  • the manner in which the rules shall be amended, varied or rescinded; and
  • the manner in which the Trade Union may be dissolved.

Registration

The following is the procedure of registration under this Code-

  • A trade union complying with the minimum requirement number of members under this Code may apply to the Registrar of Trade Unions in the prescribed form.
  • Where an application has been made for registration of a Trade Union, such application shall not be deemed to have become invalid merely by reason of the fact that, at any time after the date of the application but before the registration of the Trade Union, some of the applicants, but not exceeding half of the total number of persons who made the application, have ceased to be members of the Trade Union or have given notice in writing to the Registrar dissociating themselves from the application.
  • Every application for registration of a Trade Union shall be made to the Registrar electronically or otherwise.
  • The application shall be accompanied by-
  • A declaration to be made by an affidavit in such form and manner as may be prescribed;
  • A copy of the rules of the Trade Union together with a copy of the resolution by the members of the Trade Union adopting such rules;
  • A copy of the resolution adopted by the members of the Trade Union authorizing the applicants to make an application for registration; and
  • The resolution adopted by the members of the Trade Union means, in the case of a Trade Union, being a federation or a central organization of Trade Unions, the resolution adopted by the members of each of the member Trade Unions, meeting separately.
  • In the case of a Trade Union, being a federation or a central organization of Trade Unions, a copy of the resolution adopted by the members of each of the member Trade Unions, meeting separately, agreeing to constitute a federation or a central organization of Trade Unions.
  • Where a Trade Union has been in existence for more than one year before the making of an application for its registration, the application is to accompanied by a general statement of the assets and liabilities of the Trade Union prepared in such form and containing such particulars, as may be prescribed.
  • The Registrar may call for further information for the purpose of satisfying himself that the application complies with the provisions of this Code and the Trade Union is entitled for registration under this Code, and may refuse to register the Trade Union until such information is furnished.
  • The name of the trade union shall not be identical to that of the existing trade unions.
  •  If the Registrar of Trade Unions opines that the name of the proposed trade union resembles the name of the existing trade union the applicant may direct to alter the name of the trade union.  If such alternation is not made the trade union shall not be registered.
  • The Registrar shall, on being satisfied that the Trade Union has complied with all the requirements of the provisions of the Code in regard to registration, register the Trade Union by entering in a register, to be maintained in such form as may be prescribed, the particulars relating to the Trade Union contained in the statement accompanying the application for registration.
  • Where the Registrar makes an order for registration of a Trade Union, he shall issue a certificate of registration to the applicant Trade Union, in such form as may be prescribed, which shall be the conclusive evidence that the Trade Union has been registered under this Code.

Cancellation

The certificate of registration of a Trade Union may be withdrawn or cancelled by the Registrar,-

  • on the application of the Trade Union verified in such manner as may be prescribed; or
  • on the information received by him regarding the contravention by the Trade Union of the provisions of this Code or the rules made there under or its constitution or rules; or
  • if he is satisfied that the members in a Trade Union falls below ten per cent. of total workers or one hundred workers, whichever is less.

The Registrar shall issue a notice to the trade notice not less than sixty days informing the grounds for cancellation of the registration of the trade union.  The Registrar may cancel the registration on the order of the Tribunal to cancel the registration of the trade union.  The Registrar shall record its reasons for doing so and communicate the same to the trade union.

Appeal

Any person aggrieved by the refusal of the Registrar to grant registration to a Trade Union or by cancellation of a certificate of registration may within such period as may be prescribed, prefer an appeal to the Tribunal.  The Tribunal may entertain the appeal after the limitation prescribed for preferring the appeal under this sub-section, if the appellant satisfies the Tribunal that such delay has been caused due to sufficient reason or unavoidable circumstances.

The Tribunal may, after giving the parties concerned an opportunity of being heard, dismiss the appeal or pass an order directing the Registrar to register the Trade Union and to issue a certificate of registration or set aside the order of cancellation of certificate of registration.  The Tribunal shall forward a copy of such order to the Registrar.

Change in strength

The Trade Union shall inform the Registrar of any change in the particulars given by it in its application for registration and in its constitution or rules, in such manner as may be prescribed.

Status of registered trade union

Every registered Trade Union shall be a body corporate by the name under which it is registered, and shall have perpetual succession and a common seal with power to acquire and hold both movable and immovable property and to contract, and shall by the said name sue and be sued.

Non applicability

The provisions of-

shall not apply to trade unions under this Code.  The registration of any such Trade Union under any of the aforementioned Acts shall be void.

 

By: Mr. M. GOVINDARAJAN - October 6, 2020

 

 

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