The debate over labour market regulations in India is highly polarised. Advocates of labour market deregulation suggest that the labour law framework in the country confers disproportionate powers on workers and trade unions in the formal sector of the economy, resulting in industrial conflicts and poor productivity. Using workplace union survey data from the state of Maharashtra, this paper examines the veracity of these claims. Maharashtra is recognised as a state with a broadly pro-worker labour law framework. We find that even pro-worker labour laws at best offer only weak protection to workers and unions in the formal sector establishments. Unions find themselves increasingly vulnerable to employer hostility. We discuss these findings in the context of the role of state and judiciary in employment relations and of union links with political parties.