Ireland: Employees in Ireland have a right set down in the Constitution to join a Trade Union (Art. 40). A trade union can provide an important source of information and protection in relation to employment matters, as well as negotiating with the employer for better pay and conditions. The Irish Congress of Trade Unions is the single umbrella organisation for trade unions in Ireland, representing a range of interests of employees. The workers can be required to join as a pre-condition for employment and remain a member of the union to keep the job. However, if a worker is already working and is required at a later stage to join a union to keep his job, this would be considered unconstitutional. Dismissal for trade union activity or membership is automatically unfair and an employee dismissed in such circumstances can bring an unfair dismissal claim.
Ireland: Workers in Ireland don’t have the statutory right to Industrial action (work to rule, picket, overtime ban or strike) however law does protect the workers taking industrial action. Under part 2 of the Industrial Relations Act 1990, following immunities are provided to workers taking part in peaceful industrial action: i. Immunity (to all) from criminal or civil proceedings for conspiracy to do a particular act if such act is done punishable as a crime; ii. Immunity (to members and officials of authorized trade union) from prosecution when taking part in peaceful picketing; and iii. Immunity (to members and officials of authorized trade union) from prosecution for inducement or threats to break the employment contract. An employer may dismiss a worker engaged in strike (any industrial action) however this dismissal would be considered unfair if: i. One or more of the other employees taking part in the action were not dismissed Or ii. One or more of the other employees who were dismissed, were later reinstated or re-engaged and the employee was not. (Section 5 of Unfair Dismissals Act 1977)
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