PCS steps up criticism of calls for minimum thresholds on union ballots following yesterday’s elections for police commissioners in England and Wales

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The PCS has stepped up criticism of calls for minimum thresholds on trade union ballots following yesterday’s elections for police commissioners in England and Wales.

(Pictured: PCS called #J28 strike in 2011 following 32.4% ballot turnout)

It says historically low turnouts should “sound the death knell” for Tory-led calls for such thresholds.

With the first results coming in for elections held yesterday for the new police chiefs, it is clear that participation has been very low.

One polling station in Newport is reported to have received no votes at all.

The successful Conservative Party candidate Angus Macpherson was elected in Wiltshire on a 15.3% turnout and some areas are reporting lower levels of voting.

Turnout in the Manchester Central parliamentary by-election was 18.16%, which is believed to be the lowest in a by-election since World War II.

When in June 2011, PCS balloted all its members in the civil and public services for industrial action over cuts to pay, pensions and jobs the turnout was 32.4%.

Critics say anti-union laws introduced by previous Conservative governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major, and left in place by Labour, mean union members are restricted to a postal vote in strike ballots, which they say suppresses participation.

Unions have repeatedly argued for alternative voting methods, including secure, independently-verified online, phone and workplace polling.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “Everyone wants a thriving democracy and better participation, but these low turnouts in the police elections should sound the death knell for the shrill Tory-led cries for thresholds for union ballots.

“We have consistently argued for reform of union ballots so instead of trying to score political points every time we have a vote, the government should talk to us about extending outdated postal voting to the use of modern technology.”


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