Draft Code of Practice on Industrial Action Ballots and Notice to Employers

Part of the debate – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 12:15 pm on 14 October 2002.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Carmel Hanna Carmel Hanna Social Democratic and Labour Party 12:15, 14 October 2002

The draft code was laid before the Assembly on 24 September 2002 and is subject to affirmative resolution. On approval by the Assembly the draft code becomes the code, and the Department will make an Order bringing it into effect on the appointed day.

The draft code is issued under article 95 of the Industrial Relations (Northern Ireland) Order 1992, which gives the Department power, subject to Assembly approval, to issue codes for the purpose of improving industrial relations. The draft code takes account of the current legislative provisions on industrial action ballots and notice to employers, including those contained in the Employment Relations (Northern Ireland) Order 1999. It is intended as a practical instrument to assist a range of individuals and organisations, including employers, trade unions and employees, to regulate and improve industrial relations. It also provides guidance on statutory rights.

The draft code is relevant to any union involved in industrial action ballots, to employers who are affected by them and to union members who may be asked to vote. The draft code seeks to ensure that appropriate action is taken to resolve disputes before industrial action. It sets out details of best practice on whether a ballot is appropriate, how to prepare for a ballot, the specific process and steps to be followed when holding a ballot, and what action should be taken following a ballot. It provides helpful summaries of what the current legislation requires by way of consultation by the employer and the unions.

The draft code does not impose legal obligations, and failure to observe it does not render anyone liable to proceedings. However, it may be admissible in evidence before an industrial tribunal or the industrial court, if it is deemed to be relevant. Full consultation has taken place in Northern Ireland on the content of the draft code. I commend the draft code to the Assembly.

(Madam Deputy Speaker [Ms Morrice] in the Chair).