Problems of Trade Unions in India

Problems of trade Unions in India is a major concern in today’s industrial front. Here we will discuss some major issues faced by the unions in Indian industries and the necessity to solve the same. Indian trade unions face many problems right from the evolution. Major factors can be listed, which creates problem to the trade unions. When the unions are weak it brings a big question mark about the industrial peace. This may affect the production of the industries which will affect the growth of the nation as a whole.

Let us discuss the problem of Trade Unions in India elaborately.

a. Leadership of the Union:

The success of any union mainly depends on he leadership of the union. The administration of the union is handled by the leader. The leader is the person who is responsible to bring the issues of the members in front of the management. He must be capable to maintain good relation with that of the management. But in today’s Indian scenario the situation is entirely different. In most of the unions the leader himself is an outsider to the organization probably drawn from a political party. So it becomes difficult to maintain the relations with the employee and employer both.

b. Multiple Unions:

The Trade Union Act does not restrict the number of unions in an organization. It has given full freedom to have more than one union in an organization. So many plants or industries in India have multiple unions some are strong and some are weak. This multiple unions are considered to be a major threat to maintain peace in any industry.
When there are more unions in an industry there arises a chance for inter union rivalry. This creates many conflicts among the employees as they belongs to different unions. The leadership unions find it difficult to achieve trust and cooperation among themselves. So this issues is a main factor which weakens the Trade union movement in India.

c. Union Rivalry:

Earlier we have discussed about Inter union rivalry. Here we are discussing about intra union rivalry. As there exist more than one union in the organization there are many chances of have different groups in the same union. The difference of opinion among the members of same union is said to be intra union rivalry. This type of inter union and intra union rivalries creates problem at times of collective bargaining. The rivalries among the members become responsible for less bargaining power of the union during any disputes.

d. Financially weak Union:

The strength of the union is mainly depends upon the financial position of the union. If the union is financially strong then the functioning of the union will be an effective one. But in Indian except few unions many of the unions are in such a condition that the income level is equal to, some times less than the expenditure. Such disappointing financial positions of the unions are a big challenge for the Indian union in gaining confidence of the members and assuring effective functioning.

e. Low membership:

When there are more unions in the same organization the employees have freedom to select an union in which they wish to be a member. In this situation employees are more attracted to those unions which are getting political support. And the unions run by the employees of the organization, who can really understand the problem, gets less membership. At times of disputes these unions need to depend on the political supported union for bargaining.

f. Growth of Union:

The growth of trade unions is not equal in all parts of the country in every industry. Strong and active unions are found in metro cities and it is also confined to large scale industries. It can also be said that the union activities and effectiveness varies from industry to industry. The degree of unionism or involvement of employees in unions rages from 30 to 70 percent.

g. Illiteracy of Employees:

In many cases the employees are not aware about the role an union can play in the organization which will give a betterment to their working life. Their illiteracy about the unions and ignorance about the strength of being together in an union reduces their involvement in the union. This issues leads to several problems like, outside leadership, lack of fund for union, weak unions, Union with low membership etc.


The above discussed problems of trade union can be solved by the strong desire of the employees. For this it is must to create the awareness about the positive side of trade unions. The existing unions must try to gain the faith and confidence of the employees through transparent management of the unions. These issues must be over ruled to bring peace in the industry and to encourage industrial harmony.

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