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How much support does a strike ballot need?

On 21st June doctors are to strike over pension changes, the first industrial action by the profession for nearly 40 years. Although the results among those who voted were overwhelmingly in favour, it is being reported that only half of those balloted actually responded. For industrial action to be lawful only a simple majority of those voting is required.

The CBI has previously called for changes to the balloting rules to ensure that industrial action can only go ahead if 40% of the balloted workforce votes in favour, as well as a simple majority of those voting. However, in April 2011 the House of Commons rejected a motion to introduce a private members’ bill that would have made some strikes illegal if they were not supported by a majority of union members. The government currently remains of the view that the balloting rules do not need changed.

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