The Changing Roles of Trade Unions in India: a Case Study of National Thermal Power Corporation (Ntpc), Unchahar

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Asian Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 14, No. 1, 37–57, January 2009 37 THE CHANGING ROLES OF TRADE UNIONS IN INDIA: A CASE STUDY OF NATIONAL THERMAL POWER CORPORATION (NTPC), UNCHAHAR Piyali Ghosh1*, Shefali Nandan1 and Ashish Gupta2 1School of Management Studies, Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology (Deemed University), Allahabad, India 2Probationary Officer, State Bank of India, Kanpur, India *e-mail: ABSTRACT Trade unions are a major component of the system of modern industrial relations in any nation, each having, in their constitution, their own set of objectives or goals to achieve. Change in the political, social and educational environment has seen them rechristened as a forum that…show more content…
Research by Kumar and Dow (1986), Elsheikh and Bain (1979), and Ashenfelter and Pencavel (1969) compare the key determinants affecting union membership variations over time; Elsheikh and Bain (1980) and Maki (1982) compare such variations across states or provinces, while Kochan (1979) and Lee (1978) focus on variations across individual workers. FUNCTIONS AND ROLES OF TRADE UNIONS: CHANGING PATTERNS Trade unions are a legitimate system for organising workers to voice their rights and grievances. Without unions, companies would become either too paternalistic or too dictatorial (Thomas, 2005). Responsible unions play an important role in maintaining cordial relations between management and labour. The aims and objectives of the major trade unions in India are seen to vary according to their political ideologies (Ratnam, 2006). For instance, some unions are influenced by Leftist principles aimed at overhauling the capitalist mode of production as a whole. However, irrespective of trade unions ' political affiliations, their generic functions may be categorised as follows: The changing roles of trade unions in India 39 Primary Functions The primary function of a trade union is to promote and protect the interest of its members (Perlman, 1928; Hoxie, 1921). This can be summarised as follows: i. To improve working and living conditions and to represent workers ' interests

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