LAW ET JUSTICIA LAW REVIEW
VOLUME 1 ISSUE 2
TRADE UNIONS IN CONTRACT LABOUR SYSTEM: AN INDIAN PERSPECTIVE
Christ (deemed to be University), Bengaluru
Contract labour system refers to the arrangement where the worker is not directly employed by the principal employer for whom the work is done, rather he is employed by an intermediary known as a contractor to perform job for the employer. It is seen to be economically and financially feasible for seasonal employment. Since they are not regularized workers, the job security is much lesser. The Contract Labour Act, 1970 was introduced with the objective of abolishing this system when it is necessary and to provide security to the contract workers. There is laxity in terms of its implementation because a large number of establishments are still not registered as per the requirements of the Act, prevalence of multiple overlapping steps of adjudication which burdens the contract labour and makes it impossible for enforcement of their rights.
Trade Unions for employees are formed in order to represent the collective interests of the people it represents. The objective is to provide representation to its members and increase the bargaining power of the workmen. The operation of trade unions for furthering the rights of contract labour is on a murky ground because they are not regularized workers who are controlled by the principal employer. Rather they are under the authority of the contractor who is a third party. These results in impacting the representation that would’ve received if they were regularised workers.
This paper focuses on the lack of legal framework for the purpose of representation of trade unions for contract labour, the competing claims of employers and contract labour by highlighting the inadequacy in the Act of 1970 and evaluating this system through the lens of economic theories followed by the suggestions to remedy the same. The data is secondary and the research methodology used is doctrinal.
Key words: Contract labour system, trade unions, social security, collective bargaining, dispute resolution, efficiency