4 1975

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Number 4 of 1975


TRADE UNION ACT, 1975


ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

Section

1.

Interpretation.

2.

Amalgamations of, and transfers of engagements by, trade unions.

3.

Conditions for amalgamations or transfers.

4.

Approval of documents by Registrar.

5.

Voting on resolution to approve amalgamation or transfer.

6.

Registration of instrument of amalgamation or transfer.

7.

Application of sections 2 to 6.

8.

Power to alter rules for purpose of transfer of engagements.

9.

Amalgamations and transfers by members of certain trade unions.

10.

Complaints to Registrar regarding resolutions.

11.

Disposal of property on amalgamation or transfer.

12.

Change of name of trade union.

13.

Regulations.

14.

Saver for pending amalgamations, etc.

15.

Grants towards exceptional expenses of amalgamation or transfer.

16.

Repeals.

17.

Restriction on holding and grant of negotiation licence in case of certain trade unions.

18.

Expenses.

19.

Short title and collective citation.

SCHEDULE


Acts Referred to

Registration of Title Act, 1964

1964, No. 16

Trade Union Act, 1871

1871, c. 31

Trade Union Act Amendment Act, 1876

1876, c. 22

Trade Union (Amalgamation) Act, 1917

1971, c. 24

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Number 4 of 1975


TRADE UNION ACT, 1975


AN ACT TO AMEND THE LAW RELATING TO THE AMALGAMATION OF TRADE UNIONS AND THE ALTERATION OF THE NAME OF A TRADE UNION, TO PROVIDE FOR TRANSFER OF ENGAGEMENTS FROM ONE TRADE UNION TO ANOTHER, TO AMEND AND EXTEND THE TRADE UNION ACTS, 1871 TO 1971, AND TO PROVIDE FOR OTHER MATTERS CONNECTED WITH THE AFORESAID MATTERS. [22nd April, 1975]

BE IT ENACTED BY THE OIREACHTAS AS FOLLOWS:

Interpretation.

1. —(1) In this Act—

the amalgamating unions” and “the amalgamated union”, in relation to a proposed amalgamation, mean respectively the trade unions proposing to amalgamate and the trade union which is to result from the proposed amalgamation;

Minister” means the Minister for Labour;

Registrar” means the Registrar of Friendly Societies;

trade union”, save where the context otherwise requires, has the same meaning as in the Trade Union Acts, 1871 to 1971;

the transferor trade union” and “the transferee trade union”, in relation to a proposed transfer of engagements, mean respectively the trade union proposing to transfer its engagements and the trade union proposing to accept them.

(2) For the purposes of sections 3 and 4 “member”, in relation to a trade union, means a member for the time being entitled to any benefits provided out of the funds of the trade union but, where the rules of a trade union specify the persons (or class of persons) entitled to vote on a particular matter (or class of matter), “member” means those persons.

(3) In this Act—

(a) a reference to a section is to a section of this Act unless it is indicated that reference to some other enactment is intended,

(b) a reference to a subsection is to the subsection of the section in which the reference occurs, unless it is indicated that reference to some other section is intended.

Amalgamations of, and transfers of engagements by, trade unions.

2. —(1) Subject to this Act, two or more trade unions may amalgamate, whether with or without a division or dissolution of the funds of one or more amalgamating union.

(2) Two or more trade unions shall not amalgamate unless in the case of each amalgamating union a resolution, approving an instrument of amalgamation which has been approved by the Registrar, is passed on a vote taken in a manner satisfying the conditions specified in section 3 (1).

(3) Subject to this Act, a trade union may transfer its engagements to another trade union.

(4) A trade union shall not transfer its engagements to another trade union unless—

(a) the other union has undertaken to fulfil the engagements, and

(b) in the case of the transferor union, a resolution, approving an instrument of transfer which has been approved by the Registrar, is passed on a vote taken in a manner satisfying the conditions specified in section 3 (1).

Conditions for amalgamations or transfers.

3. —(1) The conditions referred to in section 2 are the following:

(a) every member of the union shall be entitled to vote on the resolution and the voting shall be by secret ballot;

(b) every member of the union shall be allowed to vote without interference or constraint and, so far as is reasonably possible, shall be given a fair opportunity of voting;

(c) the method of voting shall consist of the marking of a voting paper by the person voting;

(d) the union shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that, not less than seven days before voting on the resolution begins, every member of the union has received a notice in writing complying with subsection (3);

(e) not less than seven days before voting on the resolution begins, the union shall cause to be published in at least one daily newspaper published in the State notice (in such form as may be prescribed by regulations made by the Minister for Industry and Commerce under section 13) of the holding of the vote.

(2) Before a resolution to approve an instrument of amalgamation or transfer is voted on by the members of a trade union, the trade union shall satisfy the Registrar that the steps it proposes to take comply with subsection (1) (d).

(3) The notice referred to in subsection (1) (d) shall—

(a) either set out in full the relevant instrument or give sufficient account of it to enable a recipient of the notice to form a reasonable judgment of the main effects of the proposed amalgamation or transfer,

(b) state, if it does not set out the instrument in full, where copies of the instrument may be inspected,

(c) comply with any regulations under this Act, and

(d) be approved by the Registrar on being satisfied that it complies with the foregoing requirements of this subsection.

(4) The relevant instrument shall comply with the requirements of any regulations under this Act for the time being in force and relating thereto.

Approval of documents by Registrar.

4. —Before a resolution to approve an instrument of amalgamation or transfer is voted on by the members of a trade union, the instrument and the notice referred to in section 3 (1) (d) shall be submitted to the Registrar, who shall approve them on being satisfied that they comply with the requirements of section 3.

Voting on resolution to approve amalgamation or transfer.

5. —Where a vote is taken by a trade union on a resolution to approve an instrument of amalgamation or transfer, a simple majority of the votes recorded shall be sufficient to pass the resolution notwithstanding anything in the rules of the union.

Registration of instrument of amalgamation or transfer.

6. —An instrument of amalgamation or transfer shall not take effect before it has been registered by the Registrar under this Act, and shall not be so registered before the expiration of a period of six weeks beginning with the date on which an application for its registration is lodged with the Registrar.

Application of sections 2 to 6.

7. —Sections 2 to 6 shall apply to every amalgamation or transfer of engagements notwithstanding anything in the rules of a trade union concerned.

Power to alter rules for purpose of transfer of engagements.

8. —(1) Where a trade union proposes to transfer its engagements to another trade union and an alteration of the rules of the transferee union is necessary to give effect to the instrument of transfer, the committee of management or other governing body of the transferee union shall, notwithstanding anything in the rules, have power by memorandum in writing to alter the rules so far as may be necessary to give effect to the instrument of transfer.

(2) An alteration of the rules of a trade union under this section shall not take effect unless or until the instrument of transfer takes effect.

(3) This section shall not apply in the case of a trade union the rules of which expressly exclude the application to that union of this section.

Amalgamations and transfers by members of certain trade unions.

9. —Where, in the case of a body of persons which is a trade union under the law of another country and has its headquarters control situated in that country, a majority of the members of that body who are resident in the area comprising the State and Northern Ireland so decide, the members of that body who are so resident may, in accordance with this Act, amalgamate with or transfer their engagements to another trade union and shall, from the making of such a decision, be a trade union for the purpose of section 2.

Complaints to Registrar regarding resolutions.

10. —(1) A member of a trade union which passes or purports to pass a resolution approving an instrument of amalgamation or transfer may complain to the Registrar on one or more than one of the following grounds—

(a) that the manner in which the vote on the resolution was taken did not satisfy the conditions specified in section 3 (1),

(b) that the votes recorded in relation to the resolution did not have the effect of passing it.

(2) A complaint under this section lodged with the Registrar after the expiry of the period of six weeks beginning on the date on which an application for registration under section 6 is lodged with him shall not be entertained.

(3) Where a complaint under this section is made, the Registrar shall not register the relevant instrument under this Act until the complaint is finally determined under this Act.

(4) Where a complaint is made under this section, the Registrar may, after giving the complainant and the trade union concerned an opportunity of being heard, either dismiss the complaint or find it to be justified.

(5) Where the Registrar finds a complaint under this section to be justified, he shall make an order specifying what steps he requires to be taken before he will consider an application for registration under section 6, of the instrument concerned.

(6) The Registrar shall furnish to the complainant and the trade union concerned a statement of the reasons for a decision by him on a complaint under this section.

(7) The Registrar may from time to time by order vary an order under subsection (5), and after making an order under that subsection in relation to an instrument of amalgamation or transfer shall not entertain any application to register the instrument unless he is satisfied that the steps specified in the order (or, where it has been varied, in the order as varied) have been taken.

(8) The Schedule to this Act shall apply in relation to complaints under this section.

(9) Subject to subsection (10), the validity of a resolution approving an instrument of amalgamation or transfer shall not be questioned in any legal proceedings (except proceedings before the Registrar under this section or proceedings arising out of such proceedings) on any ground on which a complaint could be, or could have been, made to the Registrar under this section.

(10) In the course of proceedings on a complaint under this section the Registrar may, at the request of the complainant or of the trade union, state a case for the opinion of the High Court on a question of law arising in the proceedings, and the decision of the High Court on a case stated under this subsection shall be final.

(11) For the purposes of this section a complaint which is withdrawn shall be deemed to be finally determined at the time when it is withdrawn.

(12) An appeal shall lie to the High Court on a point of law against a decision of the Registrar under this section.

Disposal of property on amalgamation or transfer.

11. —(1) Subject to this section, where an instrument of amalgamation or transfer takes effect, the property held for the benefit of an amalgamating union or of a branch of such a union by the trustees of the union or branch, or for the benefit of a transferor trade union or of a branch of such a trade union by the trustees of the union or branch, shall without any conveyance, assignment or assignation vest on the instrument taking effect or on the appointment of the appropriate trustees, whichever is the later, in the appropriate trustees.

(2) Where any land of which the ownership is registered under the Registration of Title Act, 1964 , becomes vested by virtue of this section, the registering authority under that Act shall, upon payment of the appropriate fee, register the appropriate trustees in the appropriate register maintained under that Act as owner (within the meaning of that Act) of the land.

(3) Subsection (1) shall not apply to property excepted from the operation of this section by the instrument of amalgamation or transfer.

(4) In this section “the appropriate trustees” means—

(a) in the case of property to be held for the benefit of a branch of an amalgamated union or for the benefit of a branch of the transferee union, the trustees of that branch, unless the rules of the amalgamated union or transferee union provide that the property to be so held shall be held by the trustees of the union, and

(b) in any other case, the trustees of the amalgamated or transferee union.

Change of name of trade union.

12. —(1) Subject to this section, a trade union may change its name by any method of doing so expressly provided for by its rules or, if its rules do not expressly provide for a method of doing so, by adopting in accordance with its rules an alteration of the provision in them which gives the union its name.

(2) A change of name by a trade union shall not take effect until it is registered by the Registrar under this Act, and the Registrar shall not register a change of name if it appears to him that registration of the union under the proposed new name would be contrary to section 13 (3) of the Trade Union Act, 1871.

(3) Where a trade union changes its name the change of name shall not affect any right or obligation of the union or of any of its members, and, notwithstanding the change of name, any pending legal proceedings may be continued by or against the trustees of the union or any other officer of the union who can sue or be sued on its behalf.

Regulations.

13. —(1) The Minister for Industry and Commerce may, with the consent of the Minister, make regulations for carrying this Act into effect.

(2) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1), regulations under this section may provide for all or any of the following:—

(a) applications to the Registrar under this Act;

(b) the registration under this Act of any document;

(c) the inspection of documents kept by the Registrar under this Act;

(d) the charging of fees in respect of such matters and of such amounts as may with the approval of the Minister for Finance be prescribed by the regulations;

(e) requiring any application for the registration of an instrument of amalgamation or transfer or a change of name to be accompanied by such statutory declarations or other documents as may be specified in the regulations;

(f) making provision as to the form or content of any document required by this Act or by the regulations to be sent or submitted to the Registrar and the manner in which any such document shall be signed or authenticated;

(g) authorising the Registrar to require notice to be given or published in such manner as he may direct of the fact that an application for registration of an instrument of amalgamation or transfer has been or is to be made to him.

Saver for pending amalgamations, etc.

14. —Where before the commencement of this Act—

(a) two or more trade unions have taken steps for the purpose of amalgamating and a ballot for that purpose has been taken by one of them,

(b) a trade union has taken steps for the purpose of transferring its engagements to another trade union and has passed a resolution for their transfer, or

(c) a trade union has taken steps for the purpose of changing its name and has obtained from its members the necessary consent,

the amalgamation, transfer of engagements or change of name, as the case may be, if not completed before such commencement may, notwithstanding this Act, be proceeded with and completed as if this Act had not been passed.

Grants towards exceptional expenses of amalgamation or transfer.

15. —Whenever two or more trade unions amalgamate or whenever a trade union transfers its engagements to another trade union, the Minister may, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, make to one or more of those trade unions out of moneys to be provided by the Oireachtas a grant of such amount as the Minister thinks fit, towards such expenses as he is satisfied were exceptional and were incurred by that trade union or those trade unions as a result of, in the course of, or in contemplation of such amalgamation or transfer.

Repeals.

16. —Sections 11 to 13 of the Trade Union Act Amendment Act, 1876, and the Trade Union (Amalgamation) Act, 1917, are hereby repealed.

Restriction on holding and grant of negotiation licence in case of certain trade unions.

17. —(1) Notwithstanding Part II of the Act of 1941 and section 2 of the Act of 1971, a body of persons which is a trade union under the law of another country and has its headquarters control situated in that country shall not hold or be granted a negotiation licence under that Part unless, in addition to fulfilling the relevant conditions specified in section 7 of the Act of 1941 and section 2 of the Act of 1971, it fulfils the condition specified in subsection (2).

(2) The condition referred to in subsection (1) is that the trade union concerned has a committee of management or other controlling authority every member of which is resident in the State or Northern Ireland and which is empowered by the rules of that trade union to make decisions in matters of an industrial or political nature which arise out of and are in connection with the economic or political condition of the State or Northern Ireland, are of direct concern to members of the trade union resident in the State or Northern Ireland and do not affect members not so resident.

(3) This section, so far as it applies to an existing holder of a negotiation licence, shall come into operation on such date as the Minister fixes for that purpose by order.

(4) In this section—

the Act of 1941” means the Trade Union Act, 1941;

the Act of 1971” means the Trade Union Act, 1971.

Expenses.

18. —The expenses incurred in the administration of this Act shall, to such extent as may be sanctioned by the Minister for Finance, be paid out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas.

Short title and collective citation.

19. —(1) This Act may be cited as the Trade Union Act, 1975.

(2) The Trade Union Acts, 1871 to 1971, and this Act may be cited together as the Trade Union Acts, 1871 to 1975.

SCHEDULE

Provisions Supplemental to section 10

Section 10 (8).

1. On a complaint made under section 10 the Registrar may—

(a) require the attendance of the complainant or of any officer of the trade union and may, on the application of the complainant or any such officer, require the attendance of any person as a witness;

(b) require the production of any documents relating to the matters complained of;

(c) administer oaths and take affirmations and require the complainant, any officer of the trade union or any person attending as a witness to be examined on oath or affirmation;

(d) grant to the complainant or to any officer of the trade union such discovery as to documents and otherwise, or such inspection of documents, as might be granted by the High Court;

(e) order the whole or any part of the expenses of hearing the complaint, as certified by him, to be paid either out of the funds of the trade union or by the complainant; and

(f) order the trade union to pay to the complainant out of the funds of the union, or the complainant to pay to the union, either a specified sum in respect of the costs incurred by the complainant or the union (as the case may be) or the taxed amount of those costs.

2. A person who, on the application of any person, is required to attend before the Registrar as a witness in proceedings on a complaint under section 10 shall be entitled to be paid by the person on whose application he is so required—

(a) such sum in respect of loss of time and travelling expenses as he would be entitled to on being served with a summons to attend as a witness in the High Court, and

(b) if he duly attends, a sum equal to any further allowances to which he would be entitled if attending as a witness in proceedings in the High Court.

3. (1) Subject to subparagraph (2) of this paragraph, if any person without reasonable excuse fails or refuses to comply with a requisition of the Registrar under paragraph 1 (a) to 1 (c) of this Schedule or any order of the Registrar made in pursuance of paragraph 1 (d) of this Schedule, he shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding fifty pounds or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months, or to both such fine and such imprisonment.

(2) A person shall not be convicted of an offence under this paragraph by reason of failure or refusal on his part to comply with a requisition to attend as a witness before the Registrar unless any sum to which he is entitled under paragraph 2 (a) of this Schedule has been paid or tendered.

(3) Any costs required by an order under paragraph 1 (f) of this Schedule to be taxed may be taxed in the High Court according to the scale prescribed by rules of that court for proceedings in that court as may be directed by the order or, if the order gives no direction, by that court.

(4) Any sum payable by virtue of an order under paragraph 1 (e) or 1 (f) of this Schedule shall, if the High Court so orders, be recoverable by execution issued from that court or otherwise as if payable under an order of that court.