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Employment Relations Act 2004

Information required by Acas for ballots and ascertaining union membership

131.Section 21 inserts a new section 210A in the 1992 Act. Subsections (1) and (2) of the new section have the effect that where Acas is exercising its function to give assistance for the purpose of bringing about the settlement of a trade dispute, and the dispute is a recognition dispute, the parties to the dispute may jointly request Acas to hold a ballot of the workers involved or to ascertain their union membership.

132.Subsection (4) of the new section provides that if such a request is made, Acas has the power to require the parties to the dispute to give it, within a specified period, such information as it may specify about the workers involved in the dispute. However, undersubsection (5), Acas may use the power only where it considers this is necessary to enable it to exercise its function to bring about a settlement and to assist it to comply with the parties’ request for a ballot.

133.Subsection (6) of the new section provides that the recipient of a requirement from Acas must provide, within the specified period, as much of the specified information as is in his possession. Subsection (7) of the new section provides that a request for Acas to conduct a ballot or ascertain union membership may be withdrawn by any party to the dispute at any time and that, if this occurs, Acas is to take no further steps to conduct the ballot or ascertain union membership. Under subsection (8), Acas is also required not to take those further steps if a party fails to comply with subsection (6). Subsection (9) provides that Acas is not required to comply with any request made under the new section.

134.Subsection (10) defines the terms “party”, “recognition dispute”, “specified” and “workers” for the purposes of the new section.

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