Section 981: Exemption for trade unions and eligible employers’ associations
2914.This section provides a limited relief for trade unions and employers’ associations. It is based on section 467(1), (3) and (3A) of ICTA.
2915.Section 467 is drafted in terms of “a trade union” and provides a definition of the meaning of “trade union”. This definition includes specified employers’ associations. The inclusion of employers’ associations in the definition of “trade union” reflects the old system under which there was a single system of registration for trade unions and employers’ associations. Following the Industrial Relations Act 1971 - or, in Northern Ireland, the Industrial Relations (Northern Ireland) Order 1992 (SI 1992/807 (N.I.5)), - there are separate systems of registration for the two kinds of organisation, which are accordingly separately defined.
2916.The approach in section 981 reflects this change in the arrangements for registration and includes references to both “trade union” and “eligible employers’ association”. The use of “eligible” is intended to flag at the outset that not all employers’ associations qualify for the exemption. Only those employers’ associations that were in existence and qualified for the exemption in 1971 (1992 for Northern Ireland employers’ associations) qualify.