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The Industrial Relations (Northern Ireland) Order 1992

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Requirements as to ballot under this Part

60.—(1) The requirements referred to in Article 59(1) are those set out in paragraphs (2) to (13).

(2) Entitlement to vote in the ballot must be accorded equally to all members of the trade union.

(3) The method of voting must be by the marking of a voting paper by the person voting and each voting paper—

(a)must clearly specify the address to which, and the date by which, the voting paper is to be returned;

(b)must be given one of a series of consecutive whole numbers every one of which is used in giving a different number in that series to each voting paper printed or otherwise produced for the purposes of the ballot; and

(c)must be marked with its number.

(4) Every person who is entitled to vote in the ballot must—

(a)be allowed to vote without interference from, or constraint imposed by, the union or any of its members, officials or employees; and

(b)so far as is reasonably practicable, be enabled to do so without incurring any direct cost to himself.

(5) So far as is reasonably practicable every person who is entitled to vote in the ballot must —

(a)have a voting paper sent to him by post at his proper address; and

(b)be given a convenient opportunity to vote by post.

(6) Where, for the purpose of personal safety, a member of a trade union requests the union in writing to send a voting paper to him by some means other than by post then, in relation to that member, paragraph (5)(a) shall have effect with the substitution for the reference to post of a reference to that other means.

(7) The ballot must be conducted so as to secure that—

(a)so far as is reasonably practicable, those voting do so in secret; and

(b)the votes given in the ballot are fairly and accurately counted (any inaccuracy in counting being disregarded for the purposes of this sub-paragraph if it is accidental and on a scale which could not affect the result of the ballot).

(8) The trade union in question—

(a)must, before the ballot is held, appoint a qualified independent person (“the scrutineer”) to carry out—

(i)the functions in relation to the ballot which are required under paragraph (10) to be contained in the scrutineer’s appointment; and

(ii)such additional functions in relation to that ballot as may be specified in his appointment;

(b)must ensure that nothing in the terms of the scrutineer’s appointment, or in any additional functions specified in that appointment, is such as to make it reasonable for any person to call the scrutineer’s independence in relation to the union into question;

(c)must ensure that the scrutineer duly carries out his functions and that there is no interference with his carrying out of those functions which would make it reasonable for any person to call the scrutineer’s independence in relation to the union into question; and

(d)must comply with all reasonable requests made by the scrutineer for the purposes of, or in connection with, the carrying out of his functions.

(9) For the purposes of this Article a person is a qualified independent person in relation to a ballot if—

(a)he satisfies such conditions as may be specified for the purposes of this sub-paragraph in an order made by the Department or is himself so specified; and

(b)the trade union in question has no grounds for believing either that he will carry out any functions conferred on him in relation to the ballot otherwise than competently or that his independence in relation to the union, or in relation to the ballot, might reasonably be called into question.

(10) An appointment for the purposes of this Article shall require the scrutineer—

(a)to be the person who supervises the production and distribution, for the purposes of the ballot, of all the voting papers and the person to whom those voting papers are returned by those voting;

(b)to take such steps as appear to him to be appropriate for the purpose of enabling him to make the report mentioned in paragraph (11);

(c)as soon as reasonably practicable after the last date for the return of voting papers, to make that report to the trade union in question; and

(d)to retain custody of all voting papers returned for the purposes of the ballot—

(i)until the end of the period of one year beginning with the announcement by the union of the result of the ballot; and

(ii)where within that year any application is made under Article 61 with respect to that ballot, for the period after the end of that year until the Certification Officer or the High Court authorises the disposal of the papers.

(11) The report referred to in paragraph (10) is a report with respect to the ballot stating—

(a)the number of voting papers distributed for the purposes of the ballot;

(b)the number of voting papers returned to the scrutineer;

(c)the number of valid votes cast in the ballot for each proposition;

(d)the number of spoiled or otherwise invalid voting papers returned;

(e)whether the scrutineer is satisfied as to each of the matters specified in paragraph (12); and

(f)if he is not satisfied as to any of those matters, the particulars of his reasons for not being satisfied as to that matter.

(12) The matters mentioned in paragraph (11)(e) are—

(a)that there are no reasonable grounds for believing that there was any contravention of a requirement imposed by or under any statutory provision in relation to the ballot;

(b)that the arrangements made with respect to the production, storage, distribution, return or other handling of the voting papers used in the ballot, and the arrangements for the counting of the votes, included all such security arrangements as were reasonably practicable for the purposes of minimising the risk that any unfairness or malpractice might occur; and

(c)that the scrutineer has been able to carry out his functions without any such interference as is mentioned in paragraph (8)(c).

(13) The trade union in question must not publish the result of the ballot until it has received such a report as is mentioned in paragraph (11) from the scrutineer; and the union must—

(a)within the period of three months after it receives the report—

(i)send a copy of the report to every member of the union to whom it is reasonably practicable to send such a copy; or

(ii)take all such other steps for notifying the contents of the report to the members of the union (whether by publishing the report or otherwise) as it is the practice of the union to take when matters of general interest to all its members need to be brought to their attention;

(b)ensure that any copy sent or notification given for the purposes of sub-paragraph (a) is accompanied by a statement that the union will, on request, supply any member of the union with a copy of the report, either free of charge or on payment of such reasonable fee as may be specified in the notification; and

(c)so supply any member of the union who makes a request to the union to be supplied and pays such fee (if any) as has been notified to him.

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