Opposition to Agency Shop Provision

First Published: 2000-06-10

A good example of the controversies surrounding the Trade Union Act is that related to the Agency Shop (Clause 73(1)). An agency shop is one where the workers in a bargaining unit vote to have union dues deducted by the employer from both union and non-union workers wages and to remit them to the union.

At present the proposed draft does not contain the statement of a fundamental first principle that…

No employer should be able to deduct an amount from an employee-s wages without his prior written consent except where that deduction is for a legally approved public benefit. Such an unauthorized deduction constitutes thievery.

The Institute for Economic Freedom strongly opposes in principle the agency shop because it is the wrongful taking of someone-s personal property, his financial assets, without his consent.

The Bahamas Employers Confederation must strongly assert its opposition to thievery in every form. It must insist on this if every member of BECON wants to be able to rightfully dismiss an employee for theft of property without first paying that employee for his right to do so.

This is of great importance because the present “Unfair Dismissal” provision in the Employment Bill…if not deleted entirely or greatly modified… diminishes the employer-s right to dismiss summarily an employee for theft of property. He can only do so if he can prove that he… the employer… acted reasonably. This means that every such dismissal can be contested on this point rather than on whether the employee did, in fact, steal the employer-s property.

It is important to the employer and to the national economy that the employer-s right to Summary Dismissal be protected and not so diminished. BECON cannot argue for this if it accedes without strong protest to the legalized theft contained in the agency shop provision as it now stands.

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