Management of Industrial Relations

Classification or Types of Trade Union

Types of Trade Union

' Types of Trade Unions ' ' Types of Trade Union '

Union Classified According to Purpose

(1) Reformist Unions – Reformist unions aim at preservation of the capitalist economy and the maintenance of competitive production based employee relations. They would like to continue the existing, social, economic and political structures. Trade unions seek to improve the wage level, working conditions, quality of work life by increasing the productivity level and by bargaining for a share in the increased productivity. Reformist unions are further classified into –

  • Business Unions – This type of unions is built around congenial employee-employer cooperation. Business unions primarily protect the workers interest by participating in collective bargaining with the employer. These unions have generally been craft conscious rather than class conscious. These unions prefer voluntary arbitration and conciliation.
  • Friendly or Uplift Unions – These unions aspire to elevate the moral, intellectual and social life of workers. These unions concentrate on health, education, insurance and benefits. These unions are not craft-conscious but interest conscious of the workers. Though these unions emphasis on collective bargaining and mutual insurance they advocate cooperative enterprises and profit sharing.

(2) Revolutionary Unions – These unions aim at replacing the present system with the new and different institutions based on the ideals that are regarded as preferable. These unions aim at destroying the capitalistic system, abolish private property and installing socialist or communistic systems. These unions are of four types –

  • Political Unions – The unions gain power through political action. These unions resort to political action to protect the workers interest. The unions prefer minimisation of wage differentials.
  • Anarchist Unions – These unions try to destroy the existing economic system by revolutionary means.
  • Predatory Unions – According to Dr. Hoxie a third type of union named predatory union also exists. Predatory union does not have any ideology. It can adopt any method which will deliver the goods and it sticks at nothing. Its distinguishing characteristic is the ruthless pursuit of the matter in hand by what ever means seem most-appropriate at the time, regardless of ethical and legal codes or the effect upon those outside its own membership. It may employ business, friendly or revolutionary methods.
  • Dependent Unions – Prof. Hoxie has introduced forth type of union which is named as dependent union. The basic feature of this union is that it is dependent wholly or partly on other types of unions or employees.

Union Classified on the Basis of Membership Structure

(1) Craft Unions – It is the simplest form of the trade union. It is usually formed by workers belonging to the same craft, occupation or specialisation no matter in what industry, or trade they are employed. These unions are called as horizontal unions. The basic logic behind the formation of such unions is that the workers belonging to the same craft do face similar problems – mostly non-managerial personnel form such unions. Examples of craft unions are Drivers Associations, Signalling Staff Union in Indian Railways, etc.

(2) General Unions – If the workers of any industry, any region and of any job or occupation form into one union in order to protect the overall interests of the workers, such unions are called general unions. The Jamshedpur Labour Union, whose membership includes workers engaged in different industries and crafts of Jamshedpur, is an example of a general union.

(3) Industrial Unions – If the workers of different categories form a union, that union is called ‘industrial union’. These unions are also called “Vertical” unions. The logic behind the formation of these unions is that workers of the same industry have the common bend and they are governed by same rules and regulations and are administered by same management. Moreover, the problems of all the same industry are more or less common. The importance of these unions has been increasing in recent times. The Rashtriya Mill Mazdoor Sangh and Girni Kamgar Union at Bombay belong to this type.

(4) Staff Unions – Staff unions consist of both craft and industrial unions. The staff unions seek to recruit members like clerks, supervisors, draughtsman, computerists, operators, managers, technicians, etc. Employees working in the sectors like health and services may also join these unions. Women are also participating actively in unions.

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