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The Trade Union and Labour Relations (Northern Ireland) Order 1995

Status:

This is the original version (as it was originally made).

Requirement of ballot before action by trade union

Requirement of ballot before action by trade union

104.—(1) An act done by a trade union to induce a person to take part, or continue to take part, in industrial action—

(a)is not protected unless the industrial action has the support of a ballot; and

(b)where Article '105 falls to be complied with in relation to the person’s employer, is not protected as respects the employer unless the trade union has complied with Article 105 in relation to him. In this Article “the relevant time”, in relation to an act by a trade union to induce a person to take part, or continue to take part, in industrial action, means the time at which proceedings are commenced in respect of the act.

(2) Industrial action shall be regarded as having the support of a ballot only if—

(a)the requirements set out in paragraph (3) are satisfied; or

(b)in the case of industrial action involving members of a trade union both in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, had the action taken place in Great Britain it would be regarded for the purposes of section 226 of the Great Britain Act as having the support of a ballot.

(3) The requirements mentioned in paragraph (1)(a) are—

(a)the union has held a ballot in respect of the action—

(i)in relation to which the requirements of Article 106 so far as applicable before and during the holding of the ballot were satisfied;

(ii)in relation to which the requirements of Articles 108 to 113 were satisfied; and

(iii)in which the majority voting in the ballot answered “Yes” to the question applicable in accordance with Article 110(3) to industrial action of the kind to which the act of inducement relates;

(b)such of the requirements of the following Articles as have fallen to be satisfied at the relevant time have been satisfied, namely—

(i)Article 106 so far as applicable after the holding of the ballot; and

(ii)Article 114; and

(c)the requirements of Article 116 (calling of industrial action with support of ballot) are satisfied. Any reference in this paragraph to a requirement of a provision which is disapplied or modified by Article 115 has effect subject to that Article.

(4) Where separate workplace ballots are held by virtue of Article 109(1)-—

(a)industrial action shall be regarded as having the support of a ballot if the conditions specified in paragraph (2) are satisfied, and

(b)the trade union shall be taken to have complied with the requirements relating to a ballot imposed by Article 105 if those requirements are complied with,

in relation to the ballot for the place of work of the person induced to take part, or continue to take part, in the industrial action.

(5) For the purposes of this Article an inducement, in relation to a person, includes an inducement which is or would be ineffective, whether because of his unwillingness to be influenced by it or for any other reason.

Notice of ballot and sample voting paper for employers

105.—(1) The trade union must take such steps as are reasonably necessary to ensure that—

(a)not later than the seventh day before the opening day of the ballot, the notice specified in paragraph (2), and

(b)not later than the third day before the opening day of the ballot, the sample voting paper specified in paragraph (3),

is received by every person who it is reasonable for the union to believe (at the latest time when steps could be taken to comply with sub-paragraph (a)) will be the employer of persons who will be entitled to vote in the ballot.

(2) The notice referred to in sub-paragraph (a) of paragraph (1) is a notice in writing—

(a)stating that the union intends to hold the ballot,

(b)specifying the date which the union reasonably believes will be the opening day of the ballot, and

(c)describing (so that he can readily ascertain them) the employees of the employer who it is reasonable for the union to believe (at the time when the steps to comply with that sub-paragraph are taken) will be entitled to vote in the ballot.

(3) The sample voting paper referred to in sub-paragraph (b) of paragraph (1) is—

(a)a sample of the form of voting paper which is to be sent to the employees who it is reasonable for the trade union to believe (at the time when the steps to comply with sub-paragraph (a) of that paragraph are taken) will be entitled to vote in the ballot, or

(b)where they are not all to be sent the same form of voting paper, a sample of each form of voting paper which is to be sent to any of them.

(4) In this Article references to the opening day of the ballot are references to the first day when a voting paper is sent to any person entitled to vote in the ballot.

(5) This Article, in its application to a ballot in which merchant seamen to whom Article 11 l(3) applies are entitled to vote, shall have effect with the substitution in paragraph (3), for references to the voting paper which is to be sent to the employees, of references to the voting paper which is to be sent or otherwise provided to them.

Appointment of independent scrutineer

106.—(1) The trade union shall, before the ballot in respect of the industrial action is held, appoint a qualified person (“the scrutineer”) whose terms of appointment shall require him to carry out in relation to the ballot the functions of—

(a)taking such steps as appear to him to be appropriate for the purpose of enabling him to make a report to the trade union (see Article 114); and

(b)making the report as soon as reasonably practicable after the date of the ballot and, in any event, not later than the end of the period of four weeks beginning with that date.

(2) A person is a qualified person in relation to a ballot if—

(a)he satisfies such conditions as may be specified for the purposes of this Article by order of the Department or is himself so specified; and

(b)the trade union has no grounds for believing either that he will carry out the functions conferred on him under paragraph (1) otherwise than competently or that his independence in relation to the union, or in relation to the ballot, might reasonably be called into question.

(3) The trade union shall ensure that the scrutineer duly carries out the functions conferred on him under paragraph (1) and that there is no interference with the carrying out of those functions from the union or any of its members, officials or employees.

(4) The trade union shall comply with all reasonable requests made by the scrutineer for the purposes of, or in connection with, the carrying out of those functions.

Exclusion for small ballots

107.  Nothing in Article 106, Article 110(2)(a) or Article 114 shall impose a requirement on a trade union unless—

(a)the number of members entitled to vote in the ballot, or

(b)where separate workplace ballots are held in accordance with Article 109(1), the aggregate of the number of members entitled to vote in each of them, exceeds 50.

Entitlement to vote

108.—(1) Entitlement to vote in the ballot must be accorded equally to all the members of the trade union who it is reasonable at the time of the ballot for the union to believe will be induced to take part or, as the case may be, to continue to take part in the industrial action in question, and to no others.

(2) The requirement in paragraph (1) shall be taken not to have been satisfied if any person who was a member of the trade union at the time when the ballot was held and was denied entitlement to vote in the ballot is induced by the union to take part or, as the case may be, to continue to take part in the industrial action.

Separate workplace ballots

109.—(1) Subject to the following provisions, where the members who it is reasonable at the time of the ballot for the union to believe will be induced to take part, or continue to take part, in the industrial action in question have different places of work, separate ballots shall be held for each place of work. In such a case entitlement to vote in the ballot for each place of work shall be accorded only to such of those members as the union reasonably believes to have that as their place of work.

(2) Paragraph (1) does not apply if at the time of the ballot it is reasonable for the union to believe, and it does believe, that all the members who are accorded entitlement to vote in the ballot have the same place of work.

(3) Paragraph (1) does not apply if at the time of the ballot it is reasonable for the union to believe, and it does believe, that there is in relation to each of the members of the union who is accorded entitlement to vote in the ballot some factor (whether or not the same factor) which—

(a)relates to the terms or conditions of his employment or to the occupational description which is applicable to him in his employment,

(b)is a factor which he has in common with one or more of the other members of the union who are accorded that entitlement, and

(c)in a case where there are individuals employed by the same employer as he is who are members of the union but are not accorded that entitlement, is not a factor—

(i)which he has in common with any of those individuals, or

(ii)which individuals employed by that employer have in common as a consequence of having the same place of work;

nor does that paragraph apply if at the time of the ballot it is reasonable for the union to believe, and it does believe, that the above conditions would be satisfied if any overseas members accorded entitlement to vote in the ballot were disregarded.

(4) In this Article “place of work”, in relation to any person who is employed, means the premises occupied by his employer at or from which that person works or, where he does not work at or from any such premises or works at or from more than one set of premises, the premises occupied by his employer with which his employment has the closest connection.

Voting

110.—(1) The method of voting in a ballot must be by the marking of a voting paper by the person voting.

(2) Each voting paper must—

(a)state the name of the independent scrutineer,

(b)clearly specify the address to which, and the date by which, it is to be returned,

(c)be given one of a series of consecutive whole numbers every one of which is used in giving a different number in that series to each voting paper printed or otherwise produced for the purposes of the ballot, and

(d)be marked with its number.

This paragraph, in its application to a ballot in which merchant seamen to whom Article 11 l(3) applies are entitled to vote, shall have effect with the substitution, for the reference to the address to which the voting paper is to be returned, of a reference to the ship to which the seamen belong.

(3) The voting paper must contain at least one of the following questions—

(a)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;

(b)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 industrial action short of a strike.

(4) The voting paper must specify who, in the event of a vote in favour of industrial action, is authorised for the purposes of Article 116 to call upon members to take part or continue to take part in the industrial action. The person or description of persons so specified need not be authorised under the rules of the union but must be within Article 21(2) of the 1992 Order (persons for whose acts the union is taken to be responsible).

(5) The following statement must (without being qualified or commented upon by anything else on the voting paper) appear on every voting paper—

  • If you take part in a strike or other industrial action, you may be in breach of your contract of employment..

Conduct of ballot

111.—(1) Every person who is entitled to vote in the ballot must—

(a)be allowed to vote without interference 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.

(2) Except as regards persons falling within paragraph (3), so far as is reasonably practicable, every person who is entitled to vote in the ballot must—

(a)have a voting paper sent to him by post at his home address or any other address which he has requested the trade union in writing to treat as his postal address; and

(b)be given a convenient opportunity to vote by post; but where, for the purpose of personal safety, a member of a trade union requests the union in writing to send a voting paper to him by some means other than by post then, in relation to that member, sub-paragraph

(a)shall have effect with the substitution for the reference to post of a reference to that other means.

(3) Where a merchant seaman to whom this paragraph applies is entitled to vote in the ballot he must, so far as is reasonably practicable—

(a)have a voting paper made available to him while he is on board the ship or is at a place where the ship is; and

(b)be given an opportunity to vote while he is on board the ship or is at a place where the ship is.

(4) Paragraph (3) applies to a merchant seaman who the trade union reasonably believes will, throughout the period during which votes may be cast in the ballot, be employed in a ship either at sea or at a place outside Northern Ireland.

(5) In paragraphs (3) and (4) “merchant seaman” means a person whose employment, or the greater part of it, is carried out on board sea-going ships.

(6) A ballot shall be conducted so as to secure that—

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

(b)the votes given in the ballot are fairly and accurately counted.

For the purposes of sub-paragraph (b) an inaccuracy in counting shall be disregarded if it is accidental and on a scale which could not affect the result of the ballot.

Information as to result of ballot

112.  As soon as reasonably practicable after the holding of the ballot, the trade union shall take such steps as are reasonably necessary to ensure that all persons entitled to vote in the ballot are informed of the number of—

(a)votes cast in the ballot,

(b)individuals answering “Yes” to the question, or as the case may be, to each question,

(c)individuals answering “No” to the question, or, as the case may be, to each question, and

(d)spoiled voting papers.

Employers to be informed of ballot result

113.—(1) As soon as reasonably practicable after the holding of the ballot, the trade union shall take such steps as are reasonably necessary to ensure that every relevant employer is informed of the matters mentioned in Article 112.

(2) In paragraph (1) “relevant employer” means a person who it is reasonable for the trade union to believe (at the time when the steps are taken) was at the time of the ballot the employer of any persons entitled to vote.

Scrutineer’s report

114.—(1) The scrutineer’s report on the ballot shall state whether the scrutineer is satisfied—

(a)that there are no reasonable grounds for believing that there was any contravention of a requirement imposed by or under any statutory provision in relation to the ballot,

(b)that the arrangements made with respect to the production, storage, distribution, return or other handling of the voting papers used in the ballot, and the arrangements for the counting of the votes, included all such security arrangements as were reasonably practicable for the purpose of minimising the risk that any unfairness or malpractice might occur, and

(c)that he has been able to carry out the functions conferred on him under Article 106(1) without any interference from the trade union or any of its members, officials or employees;

and if he is not satisfied as to any of those matters, the report shall give particulars of his reason for not being satisfied as to that matter.

(2) If at any time within six months from the date of the ballot—

(a)any person entitled to vote in the ballot, or

(b)the employer of any such person,

requests a copy of the scrutineer’s report, the trade union must, as soon as practicable, provide him with one either free of charge or on payment of such reasonable fee as may be specified by the trade union.

Overseas members

115.—(1) A trade union which has overseas members may choose whether or not to accord any of those members entitlement to vote in a ballot; and nothing in Article 106 to 111 and 114 applies in relation to an overseas member or a vote cast by such a member.

(2) Where overseas members have voted in the ballot—

(a)the references in Articles 112 and 113 to persons entitled to vote in the ballot do not include overseas members, and

(b)those Articles shall be read as requiring the information mentioned in Article 112 to distinguish between overseas members and other members.

(3) An “overseas member” of a trade union means a member (other than a merchant seaman or offshore worker) who is outside Northern Ireland throughout the period during which votes may be cast.

For this purpose—

“merchant seaman” means a person whose employment, or the greater part of it, is carried out on board sea-going ships; and

“offshore worker” means a person in offshore employment, other than one who is in such employment in an area where the law of England and Wales or Scotland applies.

(4) A member who throughout the period during which votes may be cast is in Great Britain shall not be treated as an overseas member—

(a)where the ballot is one to which Article 109(1) or (2) applies (workplace ballots) and his place of work is in Northern Ireland, or

(b)where the ballot is one to which Article 109(3) applies (general ballots) and relates to industrial action involving members both in Great Britain and in Northern Ireland.

(5) In relation to offshore employment the references in paragraph (4) to Northern Ireland include any area where the law of Northern Ireland applies and the references to Great Britain include any area where the law of England and Wales or Scotland applies.

Calling of industrial action with support of ballot

116.—(1) Industrial action shall not be regarded as having the support of a ballot unless it is called by a specified person and the conditions specified below are satisfied.

(2) A “specified person” means a person specified or of a description specified in the voting paper for the ballot in accordance with Article 11O(4).

(3) The conditions are that—

(a)there must have been no call by the trade union to take part or continue to take part in industrial action to which the ballot relates, or any authorisation or endorsement by the union of any such industrial action, before the date of the ballot;

(b)there must be a call for industrial action by a specified person, and industrial action to which it relates must take place, before the ballot ceases to be effective in accordance with Article 117.

(4) For the purposes of this Article a call shall be taken to have been made by a trade union if it was authorised or endorsed by the union; and the provisions of Article 21(2) to (4) of the 1992 Order apply for the purpose of determining whether a call, or industrial action, is to be taken to have been so authorised or endorsed.

Period after which ballot ceases to be effective

117.—(1) Subject to the following provisions, a ballot ceases to be effective for the purposes of Article 116(3)(b) at the end of the period of four weeks beginning with the date of the ballot.

(2) Where for the whole or part of that period the calling or organising of industrial action is prohibited—

(a)by virtue of a court order which subsequently lapses or is discharged, recalled or set aside, or

(b)by virtue of an undertaking given to a court by any person from which he is subsequently released or by which he ceases to be bound,

the trade union may apply to the court for an order that the period during which the prohibition had effect shall not count towards the period referred to in paragraph (1).

(3) The application must be made forthwith upon the prohibition ceasing to have effect—

(a)to the court by virtue of whose decision it ceases to have effect, or

(b)where an order lapses or an undertaking ceases to bind without any such decision, to the court by which the order was made or to which the undertaking was given;

and no application may be made after the end of the period of eight weeks beginning with the date of the ballot.

(4) The court shall not make an order if it appears to the court—

(a)that the result of the ballot no longer represents the views of the union members concerned, or

(b)that an event is likely to occur as a result of which those members would vote against industrial action if another ballot were to be held.

(5) No appeal lies from the decision of the court to make or refuse an order under this Article.

(6) The period between the making of an application under this Article and its determination does not count towards the period referred to in paragraph (1).

But a ballot shall not by virtue of this paragraph (together with any order of the court) be regarded as effective for the purposes of Article 116(3)(b) after the end of the period of twelve weeks beginning with the date of the ballot.

Notice to employers of industrial action

118.—(1) An act done by a trade union to induce a person to take part, or continue to take part, in industrial action is not protected as respects his employer unless the union has taken or takes such steps as are reasonably necessary to ensure that the employer receives within the appropriate period a relevant notice covering the act.

(2) Paragraph (1) imposes a requirement in the case of an employer only if it is reasonable for the union to believe, at the latest time when steps could be taken to ensure that he receives such a notice, that he is the employer of persons who will be or have been induced to take part, or continue to take part, in the industrial action. (3) For the purposes of this Article a relevant notice is a notice in writing which—

(a)describes (so that he can readily ascertain them) the employees of the employer who the union intends to induce or has induced to take part, or continue to take part, in the industrial action (“the affected employees”),

(b)states whether industrial action is intended to be continuous or discontinuous and specifies—

(i)where it is to be continuous, the intended date for any of the affected employees to begin to take part in the action,

(ii)where it is to be discontinuous, the intended dates for any of the affected employees to take part in the action, and

(c)states that it is given for the purposes of this Article.

(4) For the purposes of paragraph (1) the appropriate period is the period—

(a)beginning with the day when the union satisfies the requirement of Article 113 in relation to the ballot in respect of the industrial action, and

(b)ending with the seventh day before the day, or before the first of the days, specified in the relevant notice.

(5) For the purposes of paragraph (1) a relevant notice covers an act done by the union if the person induced is one of the affected employees and—

(a)where he is induced to take part or continue to take part in industrial action which the union intends to be continuous, if—

(i)the notice states that the union intends the industrial action to be continuous, and

(ii)there is no participation by him in the industrial action before the date specified in the notice in consequence of any inducement by the union not covered by a relevant notice; and

(b)where he is induced to take part or continue to take part in industrial action which the union intends to be discontinuous, if there is no participation by him in the industrial action on a day not so specified in consequence of any inducement by the union not covered by a relevant notice.

(6) For the purposes of this Article—

(a)a union intends industrial action to be discontinuous if it intends it to take place only on some days on which there is an opportunity to take the action, and

(b)a union intends industrial action to be continuous if it intends it to be not so restricted.

(7) Where—

(a)continuous industrial action which has been authorised or endorsed by a union ceases to be so authorised or endorsed otherwise than to enable the union to comply with a court order or an undertaking given to a court, and

(b)the industrial action has at a later date again been authorised or endorsed by the union (whether as continuous or discontinuous action),

no relevant notice covering acts done to induce persons to take part in the earlier action shall operate to cover acts done to induce persons to take part in the action authorised or endorsed at the later date and this Article shall apply in relation to an act to induce a person to take part, or continue to take part, in the industrial action after that date as if the references in paragraph (3)(b)(i) to the industrial action were to the industrial action taking place after that date.

(8) The requirement imposed on a trade union by paragraph (1) shall be treated as having been complied with if the steps were taken by other relevant persons or committees whose acts were authorised or endorsed by the union and references to the belief or intention of the union in paragraph (2) or, as the case may be, paragraphs (3), (5) and (6) shall be construed as references to the belief or the intention of the person or committee taking the steps.

(9) The provisions of Article 21(2) to (4) of the 1992 Order apply for the purpose of determining for the purposes of paragraph (1) who are relevant persons or committees and whether the trade union is to be taken to have authorised or endorsed the steps the person or committee took and for the purposes of paragraph (7) whether the trade union is to be taken to have authorised or endorsed the industrial action.

Construction of references to contract of employment

119.  In Articles 104 to 118 (requirement of ballot before action by trade union) references to a contract of employment include any contract under which one person personally does work or performs services for another; and “employer” and other related expressions shall be construed accordingly.

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