Industrial Relations Act 1990

Secret ballots.

14

14. (1) This section shall come into operation two years after the passing of this Act (“the operative date”).

(2) The rules of every trade union shall contain a provision that—

( a) the union shall not organise, participate in, sanction or support a strike or other industrial action without a secret ballot, entitlement to vote in which shall be accorded equally to all members whom it is reasonable at the time of the ballot for the union concerned to believe will be called upon to engage in the strike or other industrial action;

( b) the union shall take reasonable steps to ensure that every member entitled to vote in the ballot votes without interference from, or constraint imposed by, the union or any of its members, officials or employees and, so far as is reasonably possible, that such members shall be given a fair opportunity of voting;

( c) the committee of management or other controlling authority of a trade union shall have full discretion in relation to organising, participating in, sanctioning or supporting a strike or other industrial action notwithstanding that the majority of those voting in the ballot, including an aggregate ballot referred to in paragraph (d), favour such strike or other industrial action;

( d) the committee of management or other controlling authority of a trade union shall not organise, participate in, sanction or support a strike or other industrial action against the wishes of a majority of its members voting in a secret ballot, except where, in the case of ballots by more than one trade union, an aggregate majority of all the votes cast, favours such strike or other industrial action;

( e) where the outcome of a secret ballot conducted by a trade union which is affiliated to the Irish Congress of Trade Unions or, in the case of ballots by more than one such trade union, an aggregate majority of all the votes cast, is in favour of supporting a strike organised by another trade union, a decision to take such supportive action shall not be implemented unless the action has been sanctioned by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions;

( f) as soon as practicable after the conduct of a secret ballot the trade union shall take reasonable steps to make known to its members entitled to vote in the ballot:

(i) the number of ballot papers issued,

(ii) the number of votes cast,

(iii) the number of votes in favour of the proposal,

(iv) the number of votes against the proposal, and

(v) the number of spoilt votes.

(3) The rights conferred by a provision referred to in subsection (2) are conferred on the members of the trade union concerned and on no other person.

(4) Nothing in this section shall constitute an obstacle to negotiations for the settlement of a trade dispute nor the return to work by workers party to the trade dispute.

(5) The First Schedule to the Trade Union Act, 1871, is hereby extended to include the requirement provided for in subsection (2).