9.1 Trade unions

All employees have the right to join (and the right not to join) an independent trade union. If the employer recognises the union, there will be an agreement in place as to the scope of bargaining between the union and the employer. This may cover health and safety, collective redundancies and business transfers and, most likely, pay.

Unions can request that an employer voluntarily recognises a union, but if that is not successful, the union may apply to the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) for compulsory recognition. It may be necessary to conduct a secret ballot of the relevant workers before the application can continue as this will govern the point at which the employer must recognise the union.

Although there is no legal right to strike, those who take official industrial action following a lawful ballot will be protected from dismissal, although since they will be in breach of contract, they will not be paid. It is also unlawful to treat employees less favourably on the grounds of their union membership, non-membership or participation in trade union activities.