Management vs. Trade Union – Are They Legally Bound to Sit Together For a Discussion

Often formation of new registered trade union puts the management into new challenges. Assume that you are the HR Head of a company and a group of employees has successfully formed a trade union and got it registered having a registration number. Consequent upon registration of the said union a letter has been sent by the union to you with the expectation that legal support and official facilities as per the provisions of the industrial and labour laws in India would be provided to them by the company to run their trade union activities and accordingly the union has sought for cooperation from the management.

As the union has been registered with the Registrar of Trade Union, it is essential to give protection and all privileges and facilities to the said union which are being provided to the other registered trade unions on the unbiased terms and conditions.

The strength of a registered trade union is the decisive factor in the case of choosing bargaining agent. If the said union is a sole bargaining agent then the management is required to sit with the union for discussion. In other cases, it is for the management to decide whether they will sit with the union to resolve any issue or not. In order to keep a harmonious relation and industrial peace, it is advisable for the management not ignore the union in the matter of discussion on any issue. If the management ignores the union on the plea of non-bargaining agent, the management may face problematic situation being created by the said trade union and they may resort to agitational program as a part of their trade union rights. Hence, in the interest of industrial peace and harmony, the management should sit with the trade union for discussion.

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