it needs a committed stable and disciplined workforce to foster an appreciable degree of economic growth. The trade union's contribution may take different shapes and forms to attain this objective. They can establish community services such as educational-cum-recreational centres, provide better housing by means of establishing co-operative housing societies, etc., and organise to fulfil such needs of the workers which make their life fuller and richer, so as to turn them into a stable and committed workforce
LEADERSHIP FROM WITHIN:
In a nut-shell, the trade unions must accept more responsibility as active partners in economic and social progress. They should not be content to acquire a privileged position for themselves only as they have perhaps been attempting to do. Though a gradual awareness of the strains and stresses of the process of economic growth is slowly dawning upon them, yet there is need for a more responsible leadership to grow from within which will be capable of undet standing and appreciating the long-range implications of development and change. Perhaps the trade unions have outgrown the age of dependence, of being tied to the apron-strings of political parties. In this respect, they should also take a better look at their counterparts in the West, where trade union organisation activity and its. lefffecfe are ciosely related to the structures, activities, purposes, and ideologies of the entire society. The trade unions in the West are a branch of the social tree, not an artificial appendage. And they have a responsibility to work their way up to achieve that status.
all probability these responsibilities of trade unions are also going to
increase in size in the years to come. There are about 21,388 registered trade >
unions at the moment whose membership is estimated to be eight to ten millions \
out of a total wage-earning workfoice of about nineteen millions. Though these
figures seem to be quite impressive, in relation to the needs of the country or
the number of membership of trade unions out of the total workforce, much more
has to be achieved. If one can indulge in crystal-gazing into the future, a pre
diction can be made that this trend is likely to continue, and perhaps increase.
The basic truth remains that the trade unions themselves have a great stake in
rapid economic development since that alone can create a basis for their growth
and strength. In under-developed countries, the chief problem is economic growth
and therefore the major questions for unions is subordination of immediate wage
gains and similar considerations to the development of the country.
question that looms large is whether the activities of a trade
union should be confined to merely an improvement in the wages and other cod- *
ditions of service of a worker or should the role of a trade union be all-pervasive »
so as to develop his personality both as a worker and as a citizen of the country
The working of the Textile Labour Association, furnishes a convincing answer.
Since its inception, it has been carrying on extensive social and educational work
for its members and their families, apart from conducting its traditional trade
union activities. It has, in that respect, a record which is unique as well as