Trade Unions and Employers' Associations
2. The definition of trade union would differ from the previous definition in the Trade Union Acts, 1871 to 1913, in excluding employers' associations and including the trade union sides of Joint Negotiating Committees and the TUC itself. Employers' associations would be separately defined.
3. There would be no system of registration, but trade unions and employers' associations would be able to apply to the Registrar of Friendly Societies (RFS) for a certificate as to their status. All trade unions which were registered under the pre-1971 legislation, together with those who obtain a certificate from the RFS, would be entitled to tax relief on provident income.
4. The Bill would provide that the rules and purposes of trade unions and employers' associations should not be unlawful by reason only that they are in restraint of trade; and the legal protection given by Sections 2 and 3 of the Trade Union Act 1871, and subsequently by Section 135 of the 1971 Act, would be continued on that basis.
5. Trade unions and employers' associations would be unincorporated bodies with power to sue and be sued in their own names.
6. It is proposed that unions should be empowered to unscramble' funds which have been accorded protected status in order to preclude their use as compensation under the 1971 Act despite provisions to the contrary in their rules.
7. All trade unions and employers' associations, whether certified or not, would be required to keep proper accounts, to send to the RFS an annual return and accounts, and to make copies of their rules available to any Nrson on request. It would be an offence not to comply with the provisions.
8. The functions under the Trade Union Act 1913 in regard to trade union political funds and under the Trade Union (Amalgamations etc.) Act 1964, at present exercised by the Registrar of Trade Unions and Employers' Associations, would revert to the RFS.
9. The functions allocated in this part of the Bill to the RFS would be taken over either by the Conciliation and Arbitration Service (CAS) when the latter is set up as a statutory body, or by some other body.
Restrictions on Legal Proceedings and Collective Labour Relations
10. These provisions would restore the pre-1971 legal immunities for trade unions and individuals acting in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute, and extend them in certain respects.
11. The proposals are as follows:
12. The Bill would provide that collective agreements should be presumed to be intended to be legally enforceable only if they are in writing and contain a provision to that effect.
Disputes procedures are not to be part of the individual contract of employment unless this is expressly stipulated in the relevant collective agreement.
13. The right of peaceful picketing would be restored as in the Trade Disputes Act 1906 (but so as to exclude the picketing of homes); and in view of the interpretation of the existing law by the House of Lords in the case of Broome v. DPP, it is considered that this should include a right for pickets to communicate with the occupants of vehicles so as peacefully to persuade them to work or to abstain from working; there would be a power to make regulations governing the manner and circumstances in which these rights could be exercised, these being subject to affirmative resolution procedure.
14. It is proposed to continue the unfair dismissal provisions of the Industrial Relations Act with certain improvements.
15. The principal provisions to be retained are Sections 22–32 of the 1971 Act. The main changes in these provisions would be as follows:
16. In addition:
17. A more radical revision of the present unfair dismissal provisions would be undertaken in later legislation.
18. A number of supporting provisions in the 1971 Act would need to be retained in whole or in part, in some cases with amendments. They include the following:
19. Steps will be taken, in consultation with the TUC, to increase substantially the number of trade unionists serving on the industrial tribunals. This is not, however, a matter which needs to be dealt with in the Bill itself.
20. With the abolition of the National Industrial Relations Court (NIRC) appeals on points of law from the decisions of industrial tribunals on unfair dismissals and redundancy payments would revert temporarily to the High Court or the Court of Session. There would be provision for the Court to be assisted by assessors with industrial experience. It is intended in later legislation to set up a new appellate body with a legal chairman and lay members from both sides of industry.
§ Miscellaneous and Supplementary
21. The status of registered trade unions and employers' associations which were incorporated under the 1971 Act would be assimilated to that of all other trade unions and employees' associations and they would become unincorporated associations.
Terms and Conditions of Employment Act 1959
22. Section 8 of the Act would be re-amended so as to enable all trade unions, as defined in the Bill, to bring claims under the Act. Claims would continue to be possible in respect of workers whose remuneration or
minimum remuneration is fixed under the Wages Councils Act 1959.
23. These would deal with unfinished business arising from sections of the 1971 Act which are to be repealed.
24. A commencement order would be made as soon as possible after the Royal Assent effectively repealing most of the provisions of the 1971 Act.
25. Apart from unfinished cases mentioned in paragraph 23(c), those functions of the CIR which derive from proceedings before the NIRC would be removed by that commencement order. It is envisaged that the Commission's function of promoting good industrial relations, which dates from its establishment in 1969 as a Royal Commission, will be taken over by the CAS as soon as possible. Meanwhile the provisions of the 1971 Act which establish the CIR as a statutory body (mainly Sections 120–123 and parts of Schedule 3) may need to be retained until sufficient progress has been made with the setting up of the CAS.
26. The functions of the Industrial Arbitration Board would also be taken over later by the CAS so that the bringing into effect of the repeal of Section 124 of the 1971 Act (which gives the Board its present name) should similarly be timed in relation to the establishment of the CAS as a statutory body.
* In the coal dispute of 1972, in certain areas guidelines for picketing were agreed between the police authority and the union, and in these areas no difficulty arose. In the 1974 strike, such agreements were extended more widely.
The fact that very few incidents occurred in the 1974 strike was largely due to the fact that the NUM laid down strict rules ensuring that the number of pickets in any local situation was not to exceed six, that the six were to be nominated by a branch or lodge official, and identified by an armband or other badge, and, further, that all the six were to be members of the lodge or branch
concerned. Thus, when potentially disruptive elements from outside the industry offered their services, they were rejected and dismissed from the scene.