A number of statutory powers regarding the regulation of trade unions have been delegated to me as Minister for Labour Affairs. In addition, the Registrar of Friendly Societies has a number of responsibilities under the Trade Union Acts 1871 to 1990.
Under section 9 of the Trade Union Act 1941, as amended, I have responsibility for issuing negotiation licences to qualifying trade unions or excepted bodies. I also have the power to revoke a trade union's negotiation licence in certain circumstances.
The Registrar of Friendly Societies' responsibilities relate to the general regulation and registration of trade unions in Ireland, including alterations to the rules of trade unions registered in Ireland and making these records available for inspection. In addition, a trade union's annual report and accounts must be submitted to the registrar.
Under the Trade Union Act 1975, the registrar has powers of investigation regarding resolutions approving instruments of amalgamation or transfer. Under the Industrial Relations Act 1990, the registrar may conduct investigations regarding possible breaches by a trade union of legislation regarding secret ballots, may issue instructions to such a trade union and may make a report to the Minister.
Regarding the statutory provisions conferring rights on union members that are not available to non-union workers in the same industrial area, the industrial relations legislation provides for immunities from prosecution for members of a trade union in respect of acts committed in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute.