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Requirement of Postal Ballot for Certain Ballots and Elections

Part of Orders of the Day — Employment Bill – in the House of Commons at 4:26 pm on 10th February 1988.

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Mr. Eric S. Heifer:

Does my hon. Friend agree that the best voting method in the trade union movement was followed by my old union, the Amalgamated Society of Woodworkers? Every quarter it had what was called a star night. If a member did not attend, he was fined. Voting took place on the star nights.

The chairman of the branch called out the names of those who were standing for election and they were recorded. They were then checked by the secretary and the members. After the vote had been taken and collected nationally, the national executive issued a form which showed the number of votes for each candidate. The number could be checked, because it was in print, by every member of the branch and the union.

There was nothing wrong with that democratic process. It was far better than leaving it in the hands of some people dealing with ballots by post, which could be rigged. The Government have changed that voting method, which was a good democratic practice. Of course, the Government supposedly know better than the democratic practices of unions.