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SAARJ Journal on Banking & Insurance Research
Year : 2018, Volume : 7, Issue : 5
First page : ( 24) Last page : ( 35)
Online ISSN : 2319-1422.
Article DOI : 10.5958/2319-1422.2018.00016.4

Multiplicity of trade unions: Issues and challenges in Sri Lankan perspective

Gamage Prasadini N.

Senior Lecturer, Department of Human Resource Management, Faculty of Commerce and Management Studies, University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka, Email id: prasadinigamage@yahoo.com

Online published on 29 November, 2018.


Trade unions are regarded as an integral part of the labour-management relationship as it is the only recognized body that represents employees in their dealings with the management. Trade unions represent the collective voice of employees in securing favorable terms and conditions. The history of trade unionism in Sri Lanka dates back to 1890s' where the first formal organization of employees emerged. With the enactment of the Trade Unions Ordinance in 1935, employees got the opportunity to legally register their trade union. However, since then politicization and multiplicity has crippled the entire trade union movement. The authors identify that the desire of the political parties to popularize their political agenda and the loopholes in the legal framework on trade unions as the two most significant causes for this situation. The evidence also proves that multiplicity is significant in public sector than in the private sector. Multiplicity of trade unions also hampers the principle of collective bargaining as it reduces the trade union membership density. Furthermore, it was obvious that multiplicity of trade unions acts as an obstacle when trying to reach a compromise in conflict prone situations resulting in a huge loss of manpower hours by way of strikes.



Trade Unions, Multiplicity, Politicization, Collective Bargaining, Strikes.


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