I have come across a situation where a Company in the hospitality sector with over 120 staff members does not have a trade union representing the staff. No formal agreement is in place. Having said that, a staff member in this Company has approached a trade union of their own accord and asked the trade union to represent them with regard to an issue with the Company. The trade union has stated in a letter to the Company that they are acting in an "individual capacity" and intend to represent the staff member in question at an external hearing. My questions are: 1. Can the Company refuse to recognise the trade union acting in an individual capacity? 2. Can the Company be forced to recognised the trade union? 3. What advice would you give to the Company where it would prefer to remain non-unionised?

Posted in : First Tuesday Q&A ROI on 3 March 2015
Zelda Cunningham
Arthur Cox
Issues covered:

Employees in Ireland have a constitutional right to join and associate with a trade union and this has been recognised as including the right to disassociate and not to join a trade union.

However, it has been established in Irish Courts that employers in Ireland have no statutory or constitutional obligation to recognise a trade union. While an employer is not obliged to recognise a particular trade union, there have been numerous recommendations of the Labour Court that an employer should recognise and consult and negotiate with a trade union on behalf of its members who are in the employer’s employment. It is for this reason we would advise that specific advice should be sought in this

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Back to Q&A's This article is correct at 02/09/2015

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Zelda Cunningham
Arthur Cox

The main content of this article was provided by Zelda Cunningham. Contact telephone number is +353 1 618 0000 or email zelda.cunningham@arthurcox.com

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