Employment Act 1988

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1988 c. 19


Employment Act 1988

1988 CHAPTER 19

An Act to make provision with respect to trade unions, their members and their property, to things done for the purpose of enforcing membership of a trade union, to trade union ballots and elections and to proceedings involving trade unions; to provide for the Manpower Services Commission to be known as the Training Commission; to amend the law with respect to the constitution and functions of that Commission and with respect to persons to whom facilities for work-experience and training for employment are made available; to enable additional members to be appointed to industrial training boards and to the Agricultural Training Board; and to provide that the terms on which certain persons hold office or employment under the Crown are to be treated for certain purposes as contained in contracts of employment.

[26th May 1988]

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

I Trade Unions

Part I

Trade Unions

Rights of trade union members

Rights of trade union members

S-1 Right to a ballot before industrial action.

1 Right to a ballot before industrial action.

(1) A member of a trade union who claims that the union has, without the support of a ballot, authorised or endorsed any industrial action in which members of the union (including that member) are likely to be, or have been, induced by the union to take part or to continue to take part may apply to the court for an order under this section.

(2) Where, on an application under this section, the court is satisfied—

(a) that a trade union has, without the support of a ballot, authorised or endorsed any industrial action;

(b) that (whether or not the action has already commenced) members of the union are likely to be, or have been, induced by the union to take part or to continue to take part in that action; and

(c) that the members of the union who are likely to be, or have been, so induced include the applicant,

the court shall make such order as it considers appropriate for requiring the union to take steps (including the withdrawal of any relevant authorisation or endorsement) for ensuring that there is no, or no further, inducement of members of the union to take part or to continue to take part in that action and that no such member engages in any conduct after the making of the order by virtue of having been induced before the making of the order to take part or to continue to take part in the action.

(3) For the purposes of this section a trade union has authorised or endorsed any industrial action if there has been—

(a) such an authorisation or endorsement of an act which has been done for inducing any member of the union to take part or to continue to take part in that action; or

(b) such an authorisation of any proposed act for inducing such a member to take part or to continue to take part in that action,

as requires that member, or if the act were done would require that member, to be treated for the purposes of this section as induced by the union to take part or, as the case may be, to continue to take part in that action.

(4) For the purposes of this section a person shall be treated as induced by a trade union to take part or to continue to take part in any industrial action if he is subjected to such an inducement to take part or to continue to take part in that action as is or (if it constituted an inducement to break a contract of employment or to interfere with the performance of such a contract) would be taken, for the purposes of any such proceedings as are mentioned in subsection (2) of section 15 of the 1982 Act (liability of unions for official action), to have been done by the union.

(5) For the purposes of an application under this section an authorisation or endorsement by a trade union of any industrial action is without the support of a ballot unless—

(a) the trade union has held one or more ballots in respect of that action;

(b) the applicant has been accorded entitlement to vote in the ballot or, as the case may be, in one of them;

(c) section 11 of the 1984 Act (requirements to be satisfied in relation to ballots on industrial action) has been satisfied in relation to the ballot in which the applicant was accorded entitlement to vote;

(d) the majority voting in that ballot have answered ‘Yes’—

(i) in the case of action which consists in a strike, to a question (however framed) which requires the person answering it to say, by answering ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, whether he is prepared to take part or, as the case may be, to continue to take part in a strike;

(ii) in the case of action which consists in action short of a strike, to a question (however framed) which requires the person answering it to say, by answering ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, whether he is prepared to take part or, as the case may be, to continue to take part in such action;

(iii) in the case of action which consists in action to which both of the questions mentioned in sub-paragraphs (i) and (ii) above are applicable, to the question or questions applicable to that part of the action in which the applicant is likely to be, or has been, induced to take part or to continue to take part;

and

(e) the first authorisation or endorsement of that industrial action and, in the case of any action which has been authorised rather than endorsed, the commencement of the action occurred or is likely to occur at a time after the date of that ballot and before the end of the period of four weeks beginning with that date.

(6) In this section references to an inducement, in relation to a member of a trade union, include references to an inducement which is or would be ineffective, whether because of that member's unwillingness to be influenced by it or for any other reason.

(7) In this section—

‘date of the ballot’ has the same meaning as in Part II of the 1984 Act;

‘industrial action’ means any strike or other industrial action by persons employed under contracts of employment;

‘strike’ means any concerted stoppage of work.

(8) Nothing in this section shall be construed as requiring a trade union to hold separate ballots for the purposes of this section and for the purposes of Part II of the 1984 Act.

S-2 Right not to be denied access to the courts etc.

2 Right not to be denied access to the courts etc.

(1) Notwithstanding anything in the rules of any trade union or in the practice of any court, where—

(a) a person who is or has been a member of a trade union commences proceedings in any court with respect to any relevant matter;

(b) that person has previously made a valid application to the union for that matter to be submitted for determination or conciliation in accordance with the union's rules; and

(c) those proceedings are commenced after the end of the period of six months beginning with the day on which the union received the application,

the rules requiring or allowing that matter to be so submitted and the fact that any steps remain to be taken for the purposes of, or in connection with, the determination or conciliation of that matter shall be regarded for all purposes as irrelevant to any question whether those proceedings should be dismissed, stayed or sisted, or adjourned.

(2) If a court is satisfied in any proceedings with respect to any relevant matter that any delay in the taking of steps for the purposes of, or in connection with, the determination or conciliation of that matter in accordance with the rules of any trade union was attributable to the unreasonable conduct of the person who commenced the proceedings, the court may, in relation to those proceedings, treat the period of six months specified in paragraph (c) of subsection (1) above as extended by such further period as the court considers appropriate.

(3) Where any person has made an invalid application to a trade union for any relevant matter to be submitted for determination or conciliation in accordance with the union's rules, the application shall be deemed to be valid for the purposes of subsection (1) above unless the union informs that person, before the end of the period of twenty-eight days beginning with the day on which the union received the application, of all the respects in which the application contravened the requirements of those rules.

(4) For the purposes of this section a matter is a relevant matter, in relation to a person who is or has been a member of a trade union, if—

(a) it is required or allowed under the rules of the union to be submitted for determination or conciliation in accordance with those rules; and

(b) a provision of the rules purporting to provide for such a determination or conciliation to be that person's only remedy in respect of that matter has no effect or, as the case may be, would have no effect if there were one.

(5) In this section—

(a) references, in relation to a trade union, to its rules include references to any arbitration or other agreement entered into in pursuance of any requirement imposed by or under the rules of the union; and

(b) references to the taking of steps for the purposes of, or in connection with, the determination or conciliation of any matter which has been submitted for determination or conciliation in accordance with the rules of a trade union include references to the taking of any steps for the purposes of, or in connection with any appeal, review or reconsideration under those rules of any determination or award made on that submission.

(6) This section shall be without prejudice to any enactment or rule of law by virtue of which a court would, apart from this section, disregard any rules of a trade union, or...

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