Under the employment legislation introduced by the Conservative governments of the 1980s and 1990s UK trade unions are required to use secret, postal ballots to elect members of their executive committee and to authorize strike action and the establishment or renewal of a political fund. Such ballots have to be overseen by an independent scrutineer, and they are usually conducted on behalf of trade unions by specialist balloting agencies. The primary motive of the Conservatives in requiring unions to rely on postal ballots was to influence their behaviour. It was assumed that the views of a moderate union majority, which was less likely to strike, want a political fund, or vote for a militant executive, would be reflected in the results of such ballots. Critics have argued that the legislation privatizes the process of democratic decision-making in unions and involves an unwarranted intrusion into the affairs of independent voluntary organizations. [See strike ballot.]
Subjects: Human Resource Management.