Industrial Relations Act 1971

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1971 c. 72


Industrial Relations Act 1971

1971 CHAPTER 72

An Act to amend the law relating to employers and workers and to organisations of employers and organisations of workers; to provide for the establishment of a National Industrial Relations Court and for extending the jurisdiction of industrial tribunals; to provide for the appointment of a Chief Registrar of Trade Unions and Employers' Associations, and of assistant registrars, and for establishing a Commission on Industrial Relations as a statutory body; and for purposes connected with those matters.

[5th August 1971]

B e 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 Introductory

Part I

Introductory

S-1 General principles.

1 General principles.

(1) The provisions of this Act shall have effect for the purpose of promoting good industrial relations in accordance with the following general principles, that is to say,—

( a ) the principle of collective bargaining freely conducted on behalf of workers and employers and with due regard to the general interests of the community;

( b ) the principle of developing and maintaining orderly procedures in industry for the peaceful and expeditious settlement of disputes by negotiation, conciliation or arbitration, with due regard to the general interests of the community;

( c ) the principle of free association of workers in independent trade unions, and of employers in employers' associations so organised as to be representative, responsible and effective bodies for regulating relations between employers and workers; and

( d ) the principle of freedom and security for workers, protected by adequate safeguards against unfair industrial practices, whether on the part of employers or others.

(2) With a view to fulfilling that purpose those principles shall be regarded as guiding principles—

( a ) by the Secretary of State, the Commission on Industrial Relations, and the Chief Registrar of Trade Unions and Employers' Associations, and assistant registrars, to be appointed under this Act, in the performance by them respectively of their functions under this Act, and

( b ) by the National Industrial Relations Court to be established under this Act, and by industrial tribunals, in the exercise of the jurisdiction conferred by or under this Act on that Court and on those tribunals.

S-2 Code of industrial relations practice.

2 Code of industrial relations practice.

(1) It shall be the duty of the Secretary of State, before the end of the period of one year beginning with the passing of this Act, to prepare in draft a code of practice, containing such practical guidance as in the opinion of the Secretary of State would be helpful for the purpose specified in section 1(1) of this Act.

(2) In preparing that code the Secretary of State shall have regard to—

( a ) the need for those who manage undertakings to accept the primary responsibility for the promotion of good industrial relations, and

( b ) the need for providing practical guidance with respect to disclosure of information by employers, and with respect to the establishment and maintenance of effective means of negotiation, consultation and communication at all levels between those who manage undertakings and the workers employed in them.

(3) The Secretary of State may from time to time revise the whole or any part of a code of practice which has been brought into effect under this Part of this Act.

S-3 Approval by Parliament of code of practice and revisions of code.

3 Approval by Parliament of code of practice and revisions of code.

(1) The Secretary of State shall, before the end of the period of one year beginning with the passing of this Act, lay before both Houses of Parliament a draft of the code of practice prepared by him under section 2(1) of this Act.

(2) If the draft laid under the preceding subsection is approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament, the Secretary of State shall issue the code of practice in the form of the draft.

(3) Where the Secretary of State proposes to revise the whole or part of the code of practice (in the form in which, whether as originally approved or as previously revised, the code or that part of it has effect for the time being) he shall, after consultation with the Trades Union Congress and the Confederation of British Industry, prepare a draft of the revised code, or of that part of it, as the case may be, and shall transmit a copy of the draft to the Commission for their consideration and advice.

(4) The Secretary of State shall take account of any advice given to him by the Commission with respect to a draft prepared under subsection (3) of this section and shall arrange for any such advice to be published in such manner as he may consider appropriate; and, if the Secretary of State determines to proceed with the draft, he shall lay the draft, or a modified draft, before both Houses of Parliament.

(5) If the draft laid under subsection (4) of this section is approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament, the Secretary of State shall issue the revised code, or part of the code as revised, as the case may be, in the form of the draft.

(6) On issuing any document under this section (whether it is the code of practice as originally approved or a revised code or part of a revised code) the Secretary of State shall make by statutory instrument an order specifying the date on which the document is to be brought into effect

S-4 Use of code of practice in proceedings under this Act.

4 Use of code of practice in proceedings under this Act.

A failure on the part of any person to observe any provision of a code of practice which is for the time being in force under this Part of this Act shall not of itself render him liable to any proceedings; but in any proceedings before the Industrial Court or an industrial tribunal under this Act—

a ) any such code of practice shall be admissible in evidence, and
b ) any provision of such a code of practice which appears to the Court or tribunal to be relevant to any question arising in the proceedings shall be taken into account by the Court or tribunal in determining that question
II Rights of Workers

Part II

Rights of Workers

Trade union membership and activities

Trade union membership and activities

S-5 Rights of workers in respect of trade union membership and activities.

5 Rights of workers in respect of trade union membership and activities.

(1) Every worker shall, as between himself and his employer, have the following rights, that is to say,—

( a ) the right to be a member of such trade union as he may choose;

( b ) subject to sections 6 and 17 of this Act, the right, if he so desires, to be a member of no trade union or other organisation of workers or to refuse to be a member of any particular trade union or other organisation of workers;

( c ) where he is a member of a trade union, the right, at any appropriate time, to take part in the activities of the trade union (including any activities as, or with a view to becoming, an official of the trade union) and the right to seek or accept appointment or election, and (if appointed or elected) to hold office, as such an official

(2) It shall accordingly be an unfair industrial practice for any employer, or for any person acting on behalf of an employer,—

( a ) to prevent or deter a worker from exercising any of the rights conferred on him by subsection (1) of this section, or

( b ) to dismiss, penalise or otherwise discriminate against a worker by reason of his exercising any such right, or

( c ) except in accordance with the next following section, to refuse to engage a worker on the grounds that, at the time when he applied for engagement, he was a member of a trade union or of a particular trade union, or that he was not then a member of a trade union or other organisation of workers or of a particular trade union or other organisation of workers or of any of two or more particular trade unions or other such organisations.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (2)( a ) of this section an employer, or a person acting on behalf of an employer, shall not be regarded as preventing or deterring a worker from exercising the rights conferred on the worker by subsection (1)( b )of this section by reason only that (without any suggestion of reward for compliance or penalty for non-compliance) he seeks to encourage the worker to join a trade union which the employer recognises as having negotiating rights in respect of him

(4) Where an employer offers a benefit of any kind to any workers as an inducement to refrain from exercising a right conferred on them by subsection (1) of this section, and the employer—

( a ) confers that benefit on one or more of those workers who agree to refrain from exercising that right, and

( b ) withholds it from one or more of them who do not agree to do so,

the employer shall for the purposes of this section be regarded, in relation to any such worker as is mentioned in paragraph ( b )of this subsection, as having thereby discriminated against him by reason of his exercising that right.

(5) In this section ‘appropriate time’, in relation to a worker taking part in any activities of a trade union, means time which either—

( a ) is outside his working hours, or

( b ) is a time within his working hours at which, in accordance with arrangements agreed with, or consent given by or on behalf of, his...

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