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Trade Union and Labour Relations Act 1974

Status:

This is the original version (as it was originally enacted).

Status and regulation of trade unions and employers' associations

2Status of trade unions

(1)A trade union which is not a special register body shall not be, or be treated as if it were, a body corporate, but—

(a)it shall be capable of making contracts;

(b)all property belonging to the trade union shall be vested in trustees in trust for the union;

(c)subject to section 14 below, it shall be capable of suing and being sued in its own name, whether in proceedings relating to property or founded on contract or tort or any other cause of action whatsoever ;

(d)proceedings for any offence alleged to have been committed by it or on its behalf may be brought against it in its own name; and

(e)any judgment, order or award made in proceedings of any description brought against the trade union on or after the commencement of this section shall be enforceable, by way of execution, diligence, punishment for contempt or otherwise, against any property held in trust for the trade union to the like extent and in the like manner as if the union were a body corporate.

(2)A trade union which is not a special register body shall not be registered as a company under the Companies Act 1948 and accordingly any registration of any such union under that Act (whenever effected) shall be void.

(3)No trade union shall be registered under the Friendly Societies Act 1896 or the Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1965 and accordingly any registration of a trade union under either of those Acts (whenever effected) shall be void.

(4)A trade union (other than a special register body) which, immediately before the commencement of this section, was a body corporate shall, on that commencement, cease to be a body corporate and the provisions of section 19 below (as well as this section and section 4 below) shall apply to the trade union on and after that commencement.

(5)The purposes of any trade union which is not a special register body and, in so far as they relate to the regulation of relations between employers or employers' associations and workers, the purposes of any trade union which is such a body, shall not, by reason only that they are in restraint of trade, be unlawful so as—

(a)to make any member of the trade union liable to criminal proceedings for conspiracy or otherwise; or

(b)to make any agreement or trust void or voidable ;

nor shall any rule of a trade union which is not a special register body or, in so far as it so relates, any rule of any other trade union be unlawful or unenforceable by reason only that it is in restraint of trade.

3Status of employers' associations

(1)An employers' association may be either a body corporate or an unincorporated association.

(2)Where an employers' association is unincorporated—

(a)it shall be capable of making contracts ;

(b)all property belonging to the employers' association shall be vested in trustees in trust for the association;

(c)subject to section 14 below, it shall be capable of suing and being sued in its own name, whether in proceedings relating to property or founded on contract or tort or any other cause of action whatsoever;

(d)proceedings for any offence alleged to have been committed by it or on its behalf may be brought against it in its own name ; and

(e)any judgment, order or award made in proceedings of any description brought against the employers' association on or after the commencement of this section shall be enforceable, by way of execution, diligence, punishment for contempt or otherwise, against any property held in trust for the employers' association to the like extent and in the like manner as if the association were a body corporate.

(3)Any employers' association which became a body corporate by virtue of section 74 of the 1971 Act shall cease to be a body corporate by virtue of that section at the expiration of the period of six months beginning with the commencement of this section and the provisions of section 19 below (as well as this section and section 4 below) shall apply to it on and after the expiration of that period, unless before the expiration of that period it has again become a body corporate.

(4)Nothing in section 434 of the Companies Act 1948 (associations of over twenty members for certain purposes must be incorporated or otherwise formed in special ways) shall be taken to prevent the formation of an employers' association which is neither registered as a company under that Act nor otherwise incorporated.

(5)The purposes of an unincorporated employers' association and, in so far as they relate to the regulation of relations between employers and workers or trade unions, the purposes of an employers' association which is a body corporate, shall not, by reason only that they are in restraint of trade, be unlawful so as—

(a)to make any member of the association liable to criminal proceedings for conspiracy or otherwise; or

(b)to make any agreement or trust void or voidable;

nor shall any rule of an unincorporated employers' association or, in so far as it so relates, any rule of an employers' association which is a body corporate be unlawful or unenforceable by reason only that it is in restraint of trade.

4Supplementary provisions about property of trade unions and unincorporated employers' associations

(1)Sections 39 and 40 of the Trustee Act 1925 and sections 38 and 39 of the Trustee Act (Northern Ireland) 1958 (vesting of property on retirement of trustee or appointment of new trustee) shall, in their application to trustees in whom any property is vested in trust for a trade union or an unincorporated employers' association to which this subsection applies, each have effect as if for any reference to a deed there were substituted a reference to an instrument in writing and as if in subsection (4) of section 40 of the said Act of 1925 and of section 39 of the said Act of 1958 paragraphs (a) and (c) were omitted.

(2)Subsection (1) above applies to a trade union (other than a special register body) and to an unincorporated employers' association whose name is (in either case) for the time being entered in the list of trade unions or of employers' associations under section 8 below.

(3)An instrument in writing appointing a new trustee of a trade union or unincorporated employers' association to which subsection (1) above applies is referred to in this section as an " instrument of appointment" and an instrument in writing discharging a trustee of such a union or association is referred to as an " instrument of discharge " ; and for the purposes of this section (and the sections of the Acts of 1925 and 1958 applied by subsection (1) above), where a trustee of such a union or association is appointed or discharged by a resolution taken by or on behalf of the union or association, the written record of the resolution shall be treated as if it were the instrument in writing appointing or, as the case may be, discharging that trustee.

(4)Where by any enactment or instrument the transfer of securities of any description is required to be effected or recorded by means of entries in a register, then, if—

(a)there is produced to the person who is authorised or required to keep the register, a copy of an instrument of appointment or of an instrument of discharge which contains or has attached to it a list identifying the securities of that description held in trust for the union or association to which the instrument relates at the date of the appointment or discharge; and

(b)it appears to that person that any of the securities so identified are included in the register kept by him,

he shall, notwithstanding anything in section 75 or 117 of the Companies Act 1948 or any other enactment or instrument regulating the keeping of the register, make such entries as may be necessary to give effect to the instrument of appointment or of discharge.

(5)A document which purports to be a copy of an instrument of appointment or of an instrument of discharge containing or having attached to it such a list and to be certified to be a copy of such an instrument in accordance with subsection (6) below shall be taken to be a copy of such an instrument unless the contrary is proved.

(6)The certificate referred to in subsection (5) above shall be given by the president and general secretary (or persons occupying positions equivalent to those of president and general secretary) of the union or association to which the instrument relates and, in the case of an instrument to which the list of securities is attached, shall appear both on the instrument and on the list.

(7)Nothing done for the purposes of or in pursuance of subsection (4) above shall be taken to affect any person with notice of any trust or to impose on any person a duty to inquire into any matter.

(8)In relation to a trade union or an employers' association whose principal office is situated in Scotland, references in this section to the appointment and to the discharge of a trustee shall be construed as including respectively references to the assumption and to the resignation of a trustee, and references to an instrument appointing, and to an instrument discharging, a trustee shall be construed accordingly.

5Rights of workers as to arbitrary or unreasonable exclusion or expulsion from trade union

(1)Subject to the provisions of this section, every worker shall have the right not to be—

(a)excluded from membership,

(b)expelled from membership,

of a trade union or a branch or section of a trade union by way of arbitrary or unreasonable discrimination.

(2)The exclusion or expulsion of a worker from membership of a union, branch or section shall not be deemed to be arbitrary or unreasonable if the worker is of a description different from that or those of the majority of the members of that union, branch or section (as the case may be) or does not possess the appropriate qualifications for such membership.

(3)A worker aggrieved by his exclusion or expulsion from any trade union, branch or section may apply to an industrial tribunal in accordance with industrial tribunal regulations for a declaration that he is entitled to be a member of that union, branch or section.

(4)Where any such declaration has been made and has not been implemented by the union, branch or section concerned within any period specified in the declaration or if no such period is specified within a reasonable period, the worker may apply to the High Court or, in Scotland, the Court of Session for an injunction, interdict or such other relief (including compensation) as the Court may think just and expedient in all the circumstances of the case.

(5)Nothing in this section or section 2(5) above shall prejudice or in any way reduce the common law rights of a person who has applied to join, but not been given membership of, or who claims to be and to remain a member of, or who has been expelled from, a trade union.

6Provisions as to rules of trade unions and employers' associations

(1)The rules of every trade union and employers' association shall contain provisions in respect of the matters mentioned in the following subsections of this section.

(2)The rules must specify the name of the trade union or employers' association, the address of its principal office and the objects for which it was established.

(3)The rules must make provision as to the purposes for which, and the manner in which, any property or funds of the trade union or employers' association are authorised to be applied or invested.

(4)If any financial benefits are to be available for members of the trade union or employers' association out of its property or funds, the rules must make provision as to the amounts of those benefits and the circumstances in which they are to be available to members.

(5)The rules must specify the manner in which any rules of the trade union or employers' association can be made, altered or revoked.

(6)The rules must make provision for the election or appointment of officers and for the manner in which officers can be removed from office.

(7)The rules must make provision—

(a)for the election of a governing body and for its re-election at reasonable intervals ;

(b)for the manner in which members of the governing body can be removed from office.

(8)If the trade union or employers' association has officials (whether they are shop stewards, workplace representatives or other officials) who are not officers of the trade union or employers' association, the rules must make provision for their election or appointment and for the manner in which they can be removed from office.

(9)The rules must make provision as to the manner in which, for any purposes of the trade union or employers' association, elections are to be held or ballots taken, including the following:—

(a)notification of vacancies and qualification of candidates ;

(b)making of nominations ;

(c)canvassing or content of election addresses, where these are permitted;

(d)eligibility for voting in any such election or ballot;

(e)procedure preparatory to any election or ballot;

(f)the procedure for counting and scrutiny of the votes and ballot papers ; and

(g)the procedure for the declaration or notification of the result of any such election or ballot.

(10)The rules must specify the descriptions of persons who are eligible for membership of the trade union or employers' association or a branch or section of the trade union or employers' association and the procedure for dealing with applications for membership, including provision for appeals against decisions of the committee or other body responsible for determining such applications.

(11)The rules must specify—

(a)the offences for which the trade union or employers' association is entitled under the rules to expel a member or take other disciplinary action, and the penalties applicable for each of those offences;

(b)the procedure for the hearing of cases in which offences against the rules are alleged ; and

(c)the procedure with respect to appeals against any decision on any such hearing.

(12)The rules must prescribe a procedure for settling disputes between a member and the trade union or employers' association or an officer of the trade union or employers' association.

(13)In making provision for any hearing or a determination of any question, whether in relation to an alleged offence, an appeal or a dispute, the rules shall be so framed as not to depart from, or permit any departure from, the rales of natural justice.

7Right to terminate membership of trade union

Every member of a trade union, or branch or section thereof, shall have the right, on giving reasonable notice and complying with any reasonable conditions, to terminate his membership at any time of the trade union or branch or section thereof.

8Lists of trade unions and employers' associations

(1)The Registrar of Friendly Societies (in this Act referred to as the Registrar) shall maintain a list of trade unions and a list of employers' associations containing the names of those organisations which are entitled to have their names entered therein under the following provisions of this section.

(2)The Registrar shall enter in the list of trade unions or employers' associations, as the case may be, the name of every organisation of workers or of employers which—

(a)was on 30th September 1971 registered (whether by that or any other name) as a trade union under the Trade Union Acts 1871 to 1964 ; or

(b)has since that date been formed by the amalgamation of a number of such organisations each of which was so registered; or

(c)was immediately before the commencement of this section affiliated to the Trades Union Congress; or

(d)was immediately before that commencement registered as a trade union under section 68(4) of the 1971 Act or as an employers' association under section 72(4) of that Act;

except an organisation which appears to him not to be a trade union or, as the case may be, employers' association within the meaning of this Act.

(3)Any organisation of workers or of employers, whenever formed, whose name is not entered in the relevant list may apply to the Registrar to have its name so entered and, subject to subsection (5) below, the Registrar shall, if satisfied that the organisation is a trade union or employers' association and that subsection (4) below has been complied with, enter the name of that organisation in the relevant list.

(4)An application under subsection (3) above shall be made in such form and manner as the Registrar may require and be accompanied by a fee of £10 or such other fee as may be prescribed by regulations made by the Secretary of State and also by—

(a)a copy of the rules of the organisation ;

(b)a list of its officers ;

(c)the address of its head or main office ; and

(d)the name under which it is or is to be known.

(5)The Registrar shall not under subsection (3) above enter the name of an organisation in the relevant list if that name is—

(a)the same as a name under which another organisation was registered as a trade union under the Trade Union Acts 1871 to 1964 on 30th September 1971 or was registered at any time as a trade union or employers' association under the 1971 Act or is for the time being entered in either list; or

(b)a name so nearly resembling any such name as to be likely to deceive the public.

(6)If it appears to the Registrar, whether on application made to him or otherwise, that an organisation whose name is entered in the relevant list is not a trade union or employers' association or that its rules do not comply with the provisions of this Act, he may remove its name from the relevant list, but shall not do so without giving the organisation notice of his intention to do so and without considering any representations made to him by the organisation during a period specified in the notice (being not less than twenty-eight days beginning with the date of the notice).

(7)Any organisation aggrieved by the refusal of the Registrar to enter its name in the relevant list or by a decision of his to remove its name from that list may appeal to the High Court, or in Scotland the Court of Session, within the time and in the manner directed by rules of court; and on any such appeal the Court, if satisfied that that name should be or remain so entered, shall declare that fact and give directions to the Registrar accordingly.

(8)Rules of court may provide for excluding, in the case of appeals under subsection (7) above, so much of section 63(1) of the Supreme Court of Judicature (Consolidation) Act 1925 as requires appeals to the High Court to be heard and determined by a divisional court; but no appeal to the Court of Appeal shall be brought against a decision of the High Court on an appeal under that subsection except with the leave of the High Court or the Court of Appeal.

(9)The Registrar shall at all reasonable hours keep available for public inspection (free of charge) copies of the lists of trade unions and employers' associations, as for the time being in force, and a copy of each list shall be included in the annual report made by the Chief Registrar of Friendly Societies under section 6 of the Friendly Societies Act 1896.

(10)On the application of any organisation whose name is included in the list of trade unions or employers' associations the Registrar shall issue it with a certificate that its name is included in the relevant list; and any document purporting to be such a certificate shall be evidence (and in Scotland sufficient evidence) that the name of the organisation is entered in the relevant list and that the organisation is a trade union or employers' association, as the case may be.

9Application of existing Acts referring to registered trade unions, employers' associations, etc.

(1)An enactment passed, or an instrument made under an enactment, before the commencement of this section which refers (or is to be construed as referring) to a trade union registered under the Trade Union Acts 1871 to 1964 or a trade union or employers' association registered under the 1971 Act, shall, on and after that commencement, have effect as if it referred to a trade union or employers' association within the meaning of this Act.

(2)Where an enactment passed, or an instrument made under an enactment, before the commencement of this section refers (or is to be construed as referring) to an organisation of workers or to an organisation of employers (within the meaning of the 1971 Act), it shall, on and after that commencement, have effect as if it referred to a trade union or an employers' association, as the case may be.

(3)Subsections (1) and (2) above shall not apply to any enactment contained in the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1970 or any other enactment relating to income tax or corporation tax.

10Duty to keep accounting records

(1)This section applies to every trade union and every employers' association except one which consists wholly or mainly of representatives of constituent or affiliated organisations (of the description referred to in subsection (1)(b)(ii) or subsection (2)(b)(ii) of section 28 below).

(2)Every trade union and every employers' association to which this section applies shall—

(a)cause to be kept proper accounting records with respect to its transactions and its assets and liabilities ; and

(b)establish and maintain a satisfactory system of control of its accounting records, its cash holdings and all its receipts and remittances.

(3)For the purposes of paragraph (a) above proper accounting records shall not be taken to be kept with respect to the matters mentioned in that paragraph if there are not kept such records as are necessary to give a true and fair view of the state of the affairs of the trade union or employers' association and to explain its transactions.

(4)Where a trade union or employers' association consists of or includes branches or sections, then—

(a)any duty falling upon the union or association in relation to a branch or section under this section shall be treated as having been discharged to the extent to which a branch or section discharges that duty instead of the union or association ; and

(b)any duty falling upon a branch or section under this section by reason of its being a trade union or employers' association shall be treated as having been discharged to the extent to which the union or association of which it is a branch or section discharges that duty instead of the branch or section.

11Duties as to annual returns, auditors and members' superannuation schemes

(1)This section applies to every trade union and every employers' association to which section 10 above applies except a union or association which has been in existence for less than 12 months.

(2)Every trade union and every employers' association to which this section applies shall send the Registrar as respects every calendar year a return relating to its affairs.

(3)Every trade union and every employers' association to which this section applies shall appoint an auditor or auditors to audit the accounts contained in its annual return.

(4)Every trade union and every employers' association to which this section applies shall at the request of any person, supply him with a copy of its rules and of its most recent annual return either free of charge or on payment of a reasonable charge.

(5)The Registrar shall at all reasonable hours keep available for public inspection, either free of charge or on payment of a reasonable charge, copies of all annual returns sent to him under this section.

(6)The provisions of Part I of Schedule 2 to this Act shall have effect with respect to the annual return and to the qualifications, appointment, removal and functions of auditors of trade unions and employers' associations to which this section applies.

(7)The provisions of Part II of Schedule 2 to this Act shall have effect with respect to members' superannuation schemes maintained or to be maintained by trade unions or employers' associations to which this section applies.

(8)Where a trade union or employers' association consists of or includes branches or sections, then—

(a)any duty falling upon the union or association in relation to a branch or section under this section or Schedule 2 to this Act shall be treated as having been discharged to the extent to which a branch or section discharges that duty instead of the union or association ; and

(b)any duty falling upon a branch or section under this section or Schedule 2 to this Act by reason of its being a trade union or employers' association shall be treated as having been discharged to the extent to which the union or association of which it is a branch or section discharges that duty instead of the branch or section.

12Offences

(1)If a trade union or an employers' association refuses or wilfully neglects to perform a duty imposed on it by or under any of the provisions of section 10 or 11 above or Schedule 2 to this Act the trade union or employers' association shall be guilty of an offence.

(2)Subject to subsection (3) below, any offence committed by a trade union or an employers' association under subsection (1) above shall be deemed to have been also committed by—

(a)every officer of that trade union or employers' association who is bound by the rules of the union or association to discharge on its behalf the duty breach of which constitutes that offence ; or

(b)if there is no such officer, every member of the general committee of management of the union or association.

(3)In any proceedings brought against an officer or member by virtue of subsection (2) above in respect of any breach of duty, it shall be a defence for him to prove that he had reasonable cause to believe, and did believe, that some other person who was competent to discharge that duty was authorised to discharge it instead of him and had discharged it or would do so.

(4)A person who wilfully alters or causes to be altered a document which is required for the purposes of any of the provisions of section 10 or 11 above or Schedule 2 to this Act, with intent to falsify the document or to enable a trade union or employers' association to evade any of those provisions, shall be guilty of an offence.

(5)For every offence committed under this section the trade union, employers' association or other person guilty of the offence shall be liable on summary conviction—

(a)in the case of an offence under subsection (1) above, to a fine not exceeding £100 ;

(b)in the case of an offence under subsection (4) above, to a fine not exceeding £400.

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