Applications Opened To Register Trade Unions and Employer Organisations

The Ministry of Higher Education, Labour and Skills Development has opened registration for workers’ trade unions and employers’ unions, as mandated by the Industrial Relations Act. 

Enacted in January, the bill outlines the parameters defining the rights to form and participate in trade unions, alongside regulations governing the establishment and functioning of trade unions and employers’ organisations.

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In an official statement, the ministry expressed its intent to compile a provisional register, including associations already registered under the Associations Act. 

Consequently, the Ministry has extended the opportunity for all interested associations to submit applications for the provisional register.

Key provisions of the legislation include:

Constitutional Guarantee of Rights: The Act underscores the constitutionally enshrined right to strike, freedom of expression, and the liberty to form trade unions.

Regulation of Industrial Action: Registered unions may only engage in industrial action or strike following a secret ballot among members and majority approval. Failure to adhere to these procedures may result in fines ranging from MVR 5,000 to MVR 50,000.

Notice Requirements: Employers must receive a 48-hour notice before the commencement of a strike, except in cases of industrial action sanctioned by law.

Legal Framework for Disputes: The legislation outlines mechanisms for reaching collective bargaining agreements between workers and employers, aligning with international standards.

Timeframes for Negotiations: Collective bargaining discussions must commence within 30 days of proposal submission. During negotiations, unions are prohibited from undertaking industrial action or strikes.

Legally Binding Agreements: Post-negotiation, agreements must be formalised and signed, constituting legally binding documents for all involved parties.

Furthermore, the Act establishes the Registrar of Unions, appointed by the President, tasked with registering workers’ trade unions and employers’ unions, and enforcing penalties against unions violating the law.

To administer the Act effectively, provisions are made for the appointment of a Director General of Industrial Relations, the establishment of an eight-member Tripartite Advisory Board, and the creation of an Industrial Dispute Resolution Division within the Employment Tribunal.

With the opening of applications, stakeholders anticipate a structured framework fostering collaborative industrial relations and safeguarding the rights of both workers and employers within the Maldives.

Interested parties can access the registration form through the following link:

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