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trade union

An organization whose members are wholly or mainly workers and whose principal purposes include the regulation of relations between workers and employers or employers’ associations. Unions’ affairs are regulated by the Trade Union Act 1984 and the Employment Act 1988. These provide that: secret ballots must be held for election of unions’ executive committees and before any industrial action backed by the union; union funds cannot be used to indemnify individuals for fines imposed by a court for a criminal offence or contempt of court; and unions’ accounting records must be open to inspection by their members, who can challenge any unlawful use of the funds through the courts. The 1988 Act gives a right to trade union members not to be unjustifiably disciplined by their union (for example for failing to take industrial action). A member can apply to an *industrial tribunal for a declaration that he has been unjustifiably disciplined. The industrial tribunal can award compensation if the claim is upheld. The 1988 Act also appoints a Commissioner for the Rights of Trade Union Members to give advice and (at the Commissioner’s discretion) financial and legal assistance to trade union members seeking to enforce their union membership rights. See also *independent trade union.

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