Labour in India - Labour Relations

Labour Relations

About 7 per cent of the 400 million-strong workforce were employed in the formal sector (comprising government and corporates) in 2000 contributing a whopping 60 per cent of the nominal GDP of the nation. The Trade Unions Act of 1926 provided recognition and protection for a nascent Indian labour union movement. The number of unions grew considerably after independence, but most unions are small and usually active in only one firm.

In 1997, India had about 59,000 trade unions registered with the government of India. Of these only 9,900 unions filed income and expenditure reports and claimed to represent 7.4 million workers. The state of Kerala at 9,800 trade unions had the highest number of registered unions, but only few filed income and expenditure reports with the government of India. The state of Karnataka had the fastest growth in number of unions between 1950s to 1990s.

In 1995, India had 10 central federations of trade unions, namely (arranged by number of member unions in 1980): INTUC, CITU, BMS, AITUC, HMS, NLO, UTUC, UTUC-LS, NFITU and TUCC. Each federation had numerous local trade union affiliates, with the smallest TUCC with 65 and INTUC with 1604 affiliated unions. By 1989, BMS had become India's largest federation of unions with 3,117 affiliated unions, while INTUC remained the largest federation by combined number of members at 2.2 million. The largest federation of trade unions, INTUC, represents about 0.5% of India's labour force in organized sector and unorganized sector. In 2010, over 98% of Indian workers did not belong to any trade unions and were not covered by any collective bargaining agreements.

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