The Industrial Relations Act has been amended with effect from 1 April 2015 to implement changes relating to union representation of executives.
Union representation of executives
The two main changes implemented are as follows:
- Extending the scope of union representation on a collective basis for executives: This change serves to remove the legal barrier for 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 (e.g. those with substantial responsibilities for hiring and firing); and
- Expanding the scope of limited representation on an individual basis to re-employment matters:This amendment seeks to expand the scope of areas where rank and file trade unions can represent executive employees on an individual basis to include re-employment disputes.
Avoidance of conflict
The Industrial Relations Act has also been amended to provide that it will not be an offence for an employer to require, as a condition of the appointment or promotion of a person to a position of anexecutive employee, that the person must not be or continue to be an officer or a member of a rank and file trade union.
In this way, the employee in question will not be placed in a conflict of interest 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.