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Section 2 – The Trade Unions Act, 1926

The Trade Unions Act, 1926


2. Definitions.—


In this Act 1[“the appropriate Government” means, in relation to Trade Unions whose objects are not confined to one State, the Central Government, and in relation to other Trade Unions, the State Government, and], unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context,—


(a) “executive’’ means the body, by whatever name called, to which the management of the affairs of a Trade Union is entrusted;

State Amendment


Gujarat.—In section 2, after clause (a), insert the following clause, namely:—


“(aa) Industrial Court” means the Industrial Court constituted under the Bombay Industrial Relations Act, 1946, as in force in the State of Gujarat.”


[Vide Gujarat Act 7 of 1962, sec. 3 (w.e.f. 1-7-1962).]


Madhya Pradesh.—In section 2, renumber clause (a) as clause (a2) and before clause (a2) as so renumbered, insert the following clauses, namely:—


“(a) ‘approved list’ means the list of approved unions maintained by the Registrar under section 28A;


(a1) ‘approved union’ means a registered Trade Union on the approved list.”


[Vide Madhya Pradesh Act 28 of 1960, sec. 2 (w.e.f. 31-12-1960).]


(b)2[“office-bearer”], in the case of a Trade Union, includes any member of the executive thereof, but does not include an auditor;


State Amendment


Madhya Pradesh.—In section 2, renumber clause (b) as clause (b2) and before clause (b2) as so renumbered, insert the following clauses, namely:—


“(b) ‘Industrial Court’ shall have the meaning assigned to it in the Madhya Pradesh Industrial Relations Act, 1960;



[Vide Madhya Pradesh Act 28 of 1960, sec. 2 (w.e.f. 31-12-1960)]; †clause (b1) omitted by Madhya Pradesh Act 26 of 1981, sec. 3 (w.e.f. 23-5-1981).]


(c) “prescribed” means prescribed by regulations made under this Act;


(d) “registered office” means that office of a Trade Union which is registered under this Act as the head office thereof;


(e) “registered Trade Union” means a Trade Union registered under this Act;


3[(f) “Registrar” means—


(i) a Registrar of Trade Unions appointed by the appropriate Government under section 3, and includes any Additional or Deputy Registrar of Trade Unions, and


(ii) in relation to any Trade Union, the Registrar appointed for the State in which the head or registered office, as the case may be, of the Trade Union is situated;]


(g) “trade dispute” means any dispute between employers and workmen or between workmen and workmen, or between employers and employers which is connected with the employment or non-employment, or the terms of employment or the conditions of labour, of any person, and “workmen” means all persons employed in trade or industry whether or not in the employment of the employer with whom the trade dispute arises; and


(h) “Trade Union” means any combination, whether temporary or permanent, formed primarily for the purpose of regulating the relations between workmen and employers or between workmen and workmen, or between employers and employers, or for imposing restrictive conditions on the conduct of any trade or business, and includes any federation of two or more Trade Unions:


Provided that this Act shall not affect—


(i) any agreement between partners as to their own business;


(ii) any agreement between an employer and those employed by him as to such employment; or


(iii) any agreement in consideration of the sale of the goodwill of a business or of instruction in any profession, trade or handicraft.



Civil servants as workmen


A vital consideration would be the content or significance of the word ’workmen’ as occuring in section 2(h) and that this would primarily signify only manual labourers or workers of that class. Thus, the civil servants of the Association could not be considered as workmen at all; Non-Gazetted Government Officers’ Union v. Registrar of Trade Unions, AIR 1962 Mad 234.




Primary purpose of a trade union is collective bargaining; Bank of India Employees’ Association v. Reserve Bank of India, (1983) 2 LLN 872 (Bom).


Who can form Trade Union

Only the persons engaged in trade or business can form trade unions; Rangaswami v. Registrar of Trade Unions, AIR 1962 Mad 231.



1. Ins. by the A.O. 1937.


2. Subs. by Act 38 of 1964, sec. 2, for “officer” (w.e.f. 1-4-1965).


3. Subs. by Act 42 of 1960, sec. 3, for clause (f) (w.e.f. 21-9-1960).


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The Trade Unions Act, 1926


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