Difference Between Pressure Group and Trade Union (With Table)

Pressure Groups and Trade Unions are both associations of people that come together to work towards a particular goal or have some common intention. They are organizations of people into groups for attaining a certain target and demanding rights.

Pressure Group vs Trade Union

The main difference between Pressure Groups and Trade Unions is that Pressure groups represent the dissenting views that are not often represented in the mainstream views and try to influence and bring about a change in the socio-political structure. While Trade Unions tend to focus and only represent the members of a particular field of work and cater to their needs and demands.

Pressure groups are associations of people who organize and arrange themselves together for promoting or defending their particular common interests. While Trade Unions are usually formed by workers or laborers from similar fields of work for their common good and interest.

The members of the Pressure Groups are usually people who share a similar set of values, beliefs, and the same goal. Whereas, members of a Trade Union are together because of the members working in the same organization or maybe because they have similar demands.


Comparison Table Between Pressure Group and Trade Union (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of Comparison

Pressure Groups

Trade Union

Meaning (Definition)

Pressure groups are forms of organizations whose members share common attributes like interests and goals.

Trade Unions are organizations of people that represent a certain working-class especially in an industry or company.


They usually organize themselves to represent minority views and influence government policies and actions.

They are formed to protect laborers or workers of an institution and also to put forward their demands as a whole.


They are usually formed by people who share a common idea or goal and could be from any walks of life.

They are formed by people working in the same sector and the only binding factor is their occupation.


Pressure groups come into existence due to increasing demands and scarcity of resources because of competition.

Trade Unions come into existence when an issue like employees’ exploitation or demand for more wages arises.


Pressure Groups have a wide area of work and tend to represent a variety of views from various fields that might pressurize the political structure and lead to change.

The scope and area of Trade Unions are narrower and they only tend to cater to the needs of wage earners and deals with issues like wages, working conditions, etc.


What is Pressure Group?

Pressure groups are categories or sets of people who organize themselves in pursuit of a common interest or goal. Hence, they are widely also known as Interest Groups.

Pressure groups are only concerned with specific issues in the political structure and their acts are related to promoting and protecting the views of their members by influencing government decisions. They mainly try to bring the needs and problems of people to the notice of the concerned authorities.

Pressure groups have become an important part of the democratic process as they act as communication or mediation links between the government and the people being governed, by highlighting their views and demands. They act as agents of people, connecting them and giving them more voice in the decisions made.

Mainly Pressure groups use these three methods to make sure that their needs and interests are being put out in the public to be noticed. The methods extensively used are Electioneering, Propagandizing, and Lobbying.

There are majorly four different categories into which these pressure groups can be classified:

Associational Interest Groups:

These groups are formed with a common interest but their organization lasts only until their goals are fulfilled and hence is for a short period.

Institutional Interest Groups:

These are groups that are a part of government machinery and consists of professional people. They try to put forward their views through legal means according to the rules and regulations.

Non-Associational Interest Groups:

These are groups that share a common interest because of some family or religious heads and are usually lineage or kinship groups. They are not organized and lack a formal structure.

Anomic Interest Groups:

These are groups of people who spontaneously or abruptly form a group and enter into the political structure creating riots, demonstrations and similar activities to gain attention.


What is Trade Union?

Trade Unions are associations or organizations of workers or employees who work in a particular company, industry or even an institution, and are formed to improve their basic working conditions and also to protect their views and interests from being exploited.

Trade Unions consist of almost all the working members of an organization and are represented by a few members who come forward and negotiate matters regarding wages and working conditions of employees.

Being organized as Trade Unions gives more voice and power to the employees to defend themselves from being exploited as well as put forward and negotiate their demands. There exists a method of ‘Collective Bargaining’, where the representatives of employees and employers meet, put forward their demands as a whole, discuss and negotiate.

There are various types of Trade Unions based on their composition. Broadly Trade Unions can be classified into three main categories:

Industrial Union:

These types of unions are formed by individuals working in the same industry. They could differ in the skills possessed and duties that they perform, but are together because they belong to the same industry.

Craft Union:

These unions are formed by individuals working on the same craft. They possess similar skills and are from the same occupation.

General Union:

These are unions that are open to all workers irrespective of the skill they possess or the field or industry they work in. Here there is no differentiation between workers.

Main Differences Between Pressure Group and Trade Union

  1. The main difference between Pressure Groups and Trade Unions is that Pressure Groups act as a link between the government and the people being governed by expressing minority views, while Trade Unions act as a link between employees and the employer by representing their needs and demands.
  2. The goal and scope of Pressure Groups are wide and towards the betterment of a large section of people, while Trade Unions target a selected and smaller section of people, i.e. the workers and work for their betterment.
  3. Pressure groups usually demonstrate their dissent or demands by publicizing through social media or even through campaigns and activities, while Trade Unions demand their rights and showcase their disapproval through strikes and lockouts.
  4. Pressure groups can be joined by any individuals and are not regarded as some basic right or unlawful if not done, while joining Trade Unions is the legal right of workmen and cannot be taken away by the management.
  5. Pressure Groups are not governed by any specific Acts or Statutes, though general laws of the association apply to them, while Trade Unions are governed by special statutes like the Indian Trade Unions Act, 1962.



Pressure Groups and Trade Unions are both organizations of people who come together to achieve a common goal and share a common intention. These groups are important as they stand as a source of power and voice, in turn uniting a large number of people.

Though pressure groups take up a variety of issues and work towards its fulfillment and Trade Unions especially take up matters regarding employees, workers, and laborers, the formation of both the groups work towards the same goal, i.e. welfare and good of people at large.


  1. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/001979395400700405
  2. https://www.jstor.org/stable/1885744