Labour Research December 2016

Union news

Review on electronic balloting welcomed

The government’s commissioning of an independent review of the use of electronic voting in industrial action ballots has been welcomed by the TUC.

The announcement of a review implements a concession forced on the Tory government during the passage of the Trade Union Act last year. It will be conducted by former chief fire and rescue advisor for England Sir Ken Knight and the report must be laid before Parliament by December 2017.

Unions had campaigned for online balloting to be permitted for industrial action votes, particularly in the light of the stringent strike ballot provisions brought in by the Act. 

They said it would encourage more members to participate in strike votes, and would be cheaper for them to run than fully postal ballots.

Issues to be considered by the review include:

• the electronic and physical security of e-balloting;

• safeguarding against risk of intimidation of union members and protecting anonymity;

• security and resilience of existing balloting methods; and

• ensuring that “strikes and related disruption to the public only happen as a result of a clear, positive decision by those entitled to vote”.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Allowing union members to vote online should be an uncontroversial move welcomed by anyone who values democracy.”