On 3 November 2014, the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Bill 2014 (the “Bill”) was introduced in Parliament. The Bill seeks to amend the Industrial Relations Act for the following main purposes:

  • To allow trade unions of employees the majority of whose membership consists of non-executive employees (called rank and file trade unions) to represent executive employees for collective bargaining except executive employees with specific responsibilities; and
  • To extend the areas where rank and file trade unions can represent executive employees on an individual basis to include re-employment disputes.

Notably, section 79(2) of the Industrial Relations Act will be amended so that it is not an offence for employers to require as a condition of the appointment or promotion of a person to a position of an executive employee with specific responsibilities that the person will not be an officer or a member of a rank and file trade union. This amendment is to avoid losing management effectiveness and placing such a person in a conflict of interests between being an executive employee with specific responsibilities on one hand and being an officer or a member of a rank and file trade union on the other hand.

The Bill also makes related amendments to the Retirement and Re-employment Act and the Trade Unions Act as follows:

  • Retirement and Re-employment Act: To extend the areas where rank and file trade unions can represent executive employees on an individual basis to include re-employment disputes.
  • Trade Unions Act: To introduce new definitions for the terms “executive employee” and “non-executive employee” and consequential amendments as a result of the new definitions for the terms “executive employee” and “non-executive employee” and the amendments to allow rank and file trade unions to be able to represent executive employees for collective bargaining except executive employees with specific responsibilities.

Reference material

The Industrial Relations (Amendment) Bill 2014 is available from the Singapore Parliament websitewww.parliament.gov.sg by clicking here.