“Thank you for your answer last week regarding the formation of trade unions. I understand now that I cannot forcefully prevent them. I have a few more queries. Are any employees disqualified from being a member of the trade union? You also mentioned that a trade union will require registration. What are the points that I need to consider for this? Also, do trade union registrations ever get cancelled? I would appreciate some further insight on this matter.”
Thank you for writing in to us again. I am glad you found the previous post helpful. The follow-up queries you have raised are legitimate question and I will try my best to answer them so that you are well apprised of the situation. Returning to the topic of trade union registrations, section 182 of the Labour Act 2006 states as follows:
“(1) The Director of Labour, on being satisfied that a trade union has complied with all the requirements of this chapter, shall register the trade union in a prescribed register and issue a registration certificate in the prescribed form within a period of sixty days from the date of receipt o the application for registration.
(2) If the Director of Labour finds the application to be deficient in any material respect, he shall communicate in writing his objection to the trade union within a period of fifteen days from the receipt of the application and the trade union shall reply thereto within a period of fifteen days from the receipt of the objection.
(3) When the objection raised by the director of Labour has been satisfactorily met, the Director of Labour shall register the trade union as provided in sub-section (1) and if the objection is not met satisfactorily he shall reject the application.
(4) When the application has been rejected or the director of Labour has, after settlement of the objection delayed disposal of the application beyond the period of sixty days provided in sub- section (1), the trade union may, within a period of thirty days from the date of such rejection or the date of expiry of such period, whichever is earlier, appeal to the Labour court.
(5) The Labour court, after hearing the appeal, for reasons to be stated in its judgement, may pass an order directing the director of labour to register the trade union and to issue a certificate of registration within a period of seven days from the date of order or may dismiss the appeal.
(6) Any party aggrieved by the judgment passed by the labour court under sub-section (5) may prefer appeal to the labour appellate tribunal within 30 (thirty) days from the date of receipt of the order of the labour court.
Section 190 also allows for cancellation of registration if certain procedures are not complied with. The registration of a trade union may be cancelled by the director of Labour if the trade union has applied for cancellation of registration, ceased to exist, obtained registration by fraud or by misrepresentation of facts, contravened any of the basic provisions of its constitution or committed any unfair labour practice.
Additionally, if membership falls short of the number of membership required under this chapter, this will also make the Trade Union registration vulnerable to cancellation.
The Director of Labour will be responsible for dealing with this. If the director of Labour is satisfied, on enquiry, that the registration of a trade union should be cancelled, he shall submit an application to the Labour court praying for permission to cancel such registration. The Director of Labour shall cancel the registration of a trade union within thirty days from the date of receipt of permission from the Labour court. However, care must be taken that any such application to the Labour Court is done swiftly and within 03 (three) month of the unfair labour practice committed by the Trade Union.
Disqualification of a member from a trade union is elaborated in Section 180 of the Labour Act which states:
“a person shall not be entitled to be, or to be elected as a member or an officer of a trade union if-
(a) he has been convicted of an offence involving moral turpitude or an offence under section 196(2) (d) or section 298 and unless two years have elapsed from the date of his release;
(b) he is not employed or engaged in that establishment in which the trade union is formed;”
Section 180 also allows that, for public industrial sectors, if the members of the union desire, 10% of the officials to the executive committee to the union will be elected from persons who are not employed in the establishment concerned. Additionally, it is also stated that subsection (b) above will not apply to any federation of trade unions.
I hope this answers all your queries effectively. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if further information is required!