Trade Union Act 1984

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1984 c. 49


Trade Union Act 1984

1984 CHAPTER 49

An Act to make provision for election to certain positions in trade unions and with respect to ballots held in connection with strikes or other forms of industrial action; to require trade unions to compile and maintain registers of members' names and addresses; to amend the law relating to expenditure by trade unions and unincorporated employers' associations on political objects; and to amend sections 1 and 2 of the Employment Act 1980.

[26th July 1984]

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 Secret Ballots for Trade Union Elections

Part I

Secret Ballots for Trade Union Elections

S-1 Duty of trade union to hold election for certain positions.

1 Duty of trade union to hold election for certain positions.

(1) Subject to the following provisions of this Part of this Act, it shall be the duty of every trade union (notwithstanding anything in its rules) to secure—

(a ) that every person who is a voting member of the principal executive committee of the union holds that position by virtue of having been elected as such a member at an election in relation to which section 2 of this Act has been satisfied; and

(b ) that no person remains such a member for a period of more than five years without being re-elected at such an election.

(2) Where a person is a voting member of the principal executive committee of a trade union by virtue of holding some other position in that union, subsection (1) above shall apply as if references to a voting member of that committee were references to the holder of that other position.

(3) Where a person—

(a ) was a voting member of the principal executive committee of a trade union immediately before an election; and

(b ) is not elected at that election as such a member or, as the case may be, as the holder of a position in the union by virtue of which the holder is such a member;

nothing in this section shall be taken to require the union to prevent him from continuing to be such a member, or continuing to hold that position, at any time before the expiry of such period (not exceeding six months) as may reasonably be required for effect to be given to the result of the election.

(4) Any term or condition upon which a person is employed by a trade union shall be disregarded in so far as it would otherwise prevent the union from complying with any provision of this Part.

(5) In this section ‘principal executive committee’, in relation to a trade union, means the principal committee of the trade union exercising executive functions, by whatever name it is known.

(6) Nothing in this Part shall affect the validity of anything done by the principal executive committee of a trade union.

(7) For the purposes of this section a person is a voting member of the principal executive committee of a trade union if he is entitled in his own right to attend meetings of the committee and to vote on matters on which votes are taken by the committee (whether or not he is entitled to attend all such meetings or to vote on all such matters or in all circumstances).

S-2 Requirements to be satisfied in relation to elections.

2 Requirements to be satisfied in relation to elections.

(1) Entitlement to vote at the election must be accorded equally to all members of the trade union in question other than those who belong to a class—

(a ) which is, or which falls within, one or other of the classes mentioned in subsection (2) below; and

(b ) all the members of which are excluded by the rules of the union from voting at the election.

(2) The classes are—

(a ) members who are not in employment;

(b ) members who are in arrears in respect of any subscription or contribution due to the union;

(c ) members who are apprentices, trainees or students or new members of the union.

(3) Where the conditions mentioned in subsection (4) below are satisfied, nothing in subsection (1) above shall be taken to prevent a trade union from restricting entitlement to vote at an election to members of the union who fall within—

(a ) a class determined by reference to any trade or occupation;

(b ) a class determined by reference to any geographical area;

(c ) a class which is by virtue of the rules of the union treated as a separate section within the union; or

(d ) a class determined by reference to any combination of the matters mentioned in paragraphs (a ), (b ) and (c ) above.

(4) The conditions are that—

(a ) entitlement to vote is restricted by the rules of the union,

(b ) no member of the union is denied entitlement to vote at all elections held for the purposes of this Part otherwise than by virtue of belonging to a class mentioned in subsection (1) above.

(5) The method of voting must be by the marking of a voting paper by the person voting.

(6) Every person who is entitled to vote at the election must—

(a ) be allowed to vote without intereference from, or constraint imposed by, the union or any of its members, officials or employees; and

(b ) so far as is reasonably practicable, be enabled to do so without incurring any direct cost to himself.

(7) So far as is reasonably practicable, every person who is entitled to vote at the election must—

(a ) have sent to him, at his proper address and by post, a voting paper which either lists the candidates at the election or is accompanied by a separate list of those candidates, and

(b ) be given a convenient opportunity to vote by post.

(8) The ballot shall be conducted so as to secure that—

(a ) so far as is reasonably practicable, those voting do so in secret;

(b ) the result of the election is determined solely by counting the number of votes cast directly for each candidate at the election by those voting (nothing in this paragraph being taken to prevent the system of voting used for the election being the single transferable vote); and

(c ) the votes given at the election are fairly and accurately counted (any inaccuracy in counting being disregarded for the purposes of this paragraph if it is accidental and on a scale which could not affect the result of the election).

(9) No member of the trade union in question shall be unreasonably excluded from standing as a candidate at the election.

(10) No candidate at the election shall be required, whether directly or indirectly, to be a member of a political party.

(11) A member of a trade union shall not be taken to have been unreasonably excluded from standing as a candidate at the election if he has been excluded on the ground that he belongs to a class all the members of which are excluded by the rules of the union.

(12) For the purposes of subsection (11) above, any rule which provides for a class to be determined by reference to those members which the union chooses to exclude from so standing shall be disregarded.

(13) A trade union which has overseas members may choose whether or not to accord any of those members entitlement to vote at the election; and nothing in the preceding provisions of this section shall apply in relation to any overseas member or in relation to any vote cast by such a member.

(14) Nothing in this section shall be taken to require a ballot to be held at an uncontested election.

S-3 Modification of section 2 requirements.

3 Modification of section 2 requirements.

(1) Where a trade union proposes to hold an election and is satisfied that there are no reasonable grounds for believing that the requirements of section 2 of this Act would not be satisfied in relation to that election if subsection (7) of that section were to apply as modified by this section, it may proceed as if for paragraphs (a ) and (b ) of subsection (7) there were substituted—

‘(a ) have made available to him—

(i) immediately before, immediately after, or during his working hours; and

(ii) at his place of work or at a place which is more convenient for him;

or be supplied with, a voting paper which either lists the candidates at the election or is accompanied by a separate list of those candidates; and

(b ) be given—

(i) a convenient opportunity to vote by post (but no other opportunity to vote);

(ii) an opportunity to vote immediately before, immediately after, or during, his working hours and at his place of work or at a place which is more convenient for him (but no other opportunity); or

(iii) as alternatives, both of those opportunities (but no other opportunity).’

S-4 Register of member' names and addresses.

4 Register of member' names and addresses.

(1) It shall be the duty of every trade union—

(a ) to compile, by the date appointed under section 22(3) of this Act, and thereafter maintain a register of the names and proper addresses of its members; and

(b ) to secure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the entries in the register are accurate and are kept up-to-date.

(2) The register may be kept by means of a computer.

(3) Any duty falling upon a branch under this section by reason of its being a trade union shall be treated as having been discharged to the extent to which the union of which it is a branch has discharged that duty instead of the branch.

S-5 Remedy for failure to comply with Part I.

5 Remedy for failure to comply with Part I.

(1) Any person who claims that a trade union has failed to comply with one or more of the provisions of this Part may apply to the Certification Officer or to the court for a declaration to that effect if—

(a ) in a case where the application relates to an election which has been held, he was a member of the trade union at the date when the election was held and...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT