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The Industrial Relations (Northern Ireland) Order 1992

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PART VIIIPOLITICAL FUNDS AND OBJECTS

Restriction on application of funds for certain political purposes

57.—(1) The funds of a trade union shall not be applied, either directly or in conjunction with any other trade union, association, or body, or otherwise indirectly, in the furtherance of the political objects to which this Article applies (without prejudice to the furtherance of any other political objects), unless the furtherance of those objects has been approved as an object of the union by a resolution for the time being in force passed, on a ballot of the members of the union held in accordance with this Part for the purpose, by a majority of the members voting.

(2) Where such a resolution as is mentioned in paragraph (1) (in this Part referred to as “a resolution”) is in force, the funds of a trade union shall not be applied as so mentioned unless rules of the union, to be approved by the Certification Officer are in force complying with the requirements of Article 58 and providing—

(a)that any payments in the furtherance of those objects are to be made out of a separate fund (in this Part referred to as “the political fund”) of the union; and

(b)that a member who is not a contributor to the political fund of the union shall not be excluded from any benefits of the union, or placed in any respect either directly or indirectly under any disability or at any disadvantage as compared with other members of the union (except in relation to the control or management of the political fund) by reason of his not being a contributor and that contribution to the political fund of the union shall not be made a condition for admission to the union.

(3) If any member of a trade union alleges that he is aggrieved by a breach of any rule made in pursuance of this Article, he may complain to the Certification Officer, and the Certification Officer, after giving the complainant and the union an opportunity of being heard, may, if he considers that such a breach has been committed, make such order for remedying the breach as he thinks just under the circumstances.

(4) Any order of the Certification Officer under paragraph (3) may, on being registered in the county court, be enforced as if it had been an order of the county court.

(5) The political objects to which this Article applies are the expenditure of money—

(a)on any contribution to the funds of, or on the payment of any expenses incurred directly or indirectly by, a political party;

(b)on the provision of any service or property for use by or on behalf of any political party;

(c)in connection with the registration of electors, the candidature of any person, the selection of any candidate or the holding of any ballot by the union in connection with any election to a political office;

(d)on the maintenance of any holder of a political office;

(e)on the holding of any conference or meeting by or on behalf of a political party or of any other meeting the main purpose of which is the transaction of business in connection with a political party;

(f)on the production, publication or distribution of any literature, document, film, sound recording or advertisement the main purpose of which is to persuade people to vote for a political party or candidate or to persuade them not to vote for a political party or candidate.

(6) Where a person attends a conference or meeting as a delegate or otherwise as a participator in the proceedings, any expenditure incurred in connection with his attendance as such shall, for the purposes of paragraph (5)(e), be taken to be expenditure incurred on the holding of the conference or meeting.

(7) In determining, for the purposes of paragraph (5), whether a trade union has incurred expenditure of a kind mentioned in that paragraph, no account shall be taken of the ordinary administrative expenses of the union.

(8) A resolution shall take effect as if it were a rule of the union and may be rescinded in the same manner and subject to the same provisions as such a rule.

(9) A resolution shall, if it has not previously been rescinded, cease to have effect—

(a)on the expiry of the period of ten years beginning with the date of the ballot on which it was passed; or

(b)if a ballot is held before the expiry of that period and the result of the ballot is that a new resolution is not passed, on the expiry of the period of two weeks beginning with the date of the ballot.

(10) Where a trade union holds a ballot at a time when a resolution (the “old resolution”) is in force in respect of that union and the result of the ballot is that a new resolution is passed, the old resolution shall be treated as rescinded on the passing of the new resolution.

(11) Where two or more trade unions have amalgamated under Part X and by virtue of Article 78(4) the amalgamated union is treated as having passed a resolution immediately after the amalgamation, that resolution shall, for the purposes of paragraph (9), be treated as having been passed on the date of the earliest of the ballots on which the resolutions in force immediately before the amalgamation with respect to the amalgamating unions were passed.

(12) The provisions of this Part as to the application of the funds of a union for political purposes shall apply to a union which is of the description referred to in Article 3(1)(b)(i) as if the individual members of the constituent or affiliated organisations were the members of that union and not the organisations; but nothing in this Part shall prevent any such constituent or affiliated organisation from collecting from any of its members who are contributors on behalf of the union any contributions to the political fund of the union.

(13) An appeal shall lie, in accordance with Article 70(4), to the Court of Appeal on any question of law arising in any proceedings before, or arising from any decision of, the Certification Officer under this Article.

(14) In this Article—

“candidate” means a candidate for election to a political office and includes a prospective candidate;

“contribution”, in relation to the funds of a political party, includes any fee payable for affiliation to, or membership of, the party and any loan made to the party;

“electors” means electors at any election to a political office;

“film” has the same meaning as in Schedule 1 to the Films Act 1985(1);

“political office” means the office of member of the Assembly, member of Parliament, member of the Assembly of the European Communities or member of a district council or any position within a political party.

Contributions to the political fund from members of the union

58.—(1) It shall not be lawful to require any member of a trade union to make any contribution to the political fund of a trade union unless he —

(a)has given to the union notice in writing of his willingness to contribute to that fund; and

(b)has not withdrawn that notice in accordance with paragraph (2).

(2) A member of a trade union who has given notice under paragraph (1)(a) may withdraw that notice by giving written notice of withdrawal to the union.

(3) A notice under paragraph (1)(a) and a notice of withdrawal under paragraph (2) may be given to a trade union—

(a)by being delivered at the head office or a branch office of the union;

(b)by being so delivered personally or by any authorised agent or by post;

and any such notice of withdrawal shall take effect for the purposes of this Part as from 1st January next following the giving of that notice to the union.

(4) All contributions to the political fund of a trade union from members of the trade union who are contributors to the fund shall be levied and made separately from any contributions to the other funds of the trade union.

(5) In this Part “contributor”, in relation to the political fund of a trade union, means a member who has given to the union the notice referred to in paragraph (1)(a) and not withdrawn it.

Approval of rules

59.—(1) A ballot for the purposes of this Part shall be held in accordance with rules of the union to be approved for the purpose by the Certification Officer, but the Certification Officer shall not approve any such rules unless he is satisfied that the requirements of Article 60 would be satisfied in relation to a ballot held by the union in accordance with those rules.

(2) Where it is proposed to hold a ballot, paragraph (1) has effect so as to require the rules of the trade union to be approved in relation to the proposed ballot notwithstanding that approval has been given under that paragraph in relation to a ballot previously held by that union.

(3) Where a resolution is in force with respect to a trade union—

(a)rules made by the union for the purpose of complying with paragraph (1) in relation to a proposed ballot may provide for overseas members of the union not to be accorded entitlement to vote in the ballot;

(b)if rules have been made by virtue of sub-paragraph (a), the Certification Officer shall not withhold his approval under paragraph (1) on the ground that the rule in question makes such provision in relation to overseas members of the union as is mentioned in that sub-paragraph.

(4) If the Certification Officer is satisfied, and certifies, that rules for the purpose of a ballot under this Part or rules made for other purposes of this Part which require approval by him have been approved by a majority of members of a trade union voting for the purpose, or by a majority of delegates of such a trade union voting at a meeting called for the purpose, those rules shall have effect as rules of the union, notwithstanding that the provisions of the rules of the union as to the alteration of rules or the making of new rules have not been complied with.

(5) An appeal shall lie, in accordance with Article 70(4), to the Court of Appeal on any question of law arising in any proceedings before, or arising from any decision of, the Certification Officer under this Article.

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.

Remedy with respect to ballots

61.—(1) A person who claims—

(a)that any ballot for the purposes of this Part has been held otherwise than in accordance with rules approved for the purpose by the Certification Officer under Article 59; or

(b)that there has been a failure, in relation to any proposed ballot for those purposes, to comply with any rules approved under that Article in relation to that proposed ballot,

may apply to the Certification Officer or to the High Court for a declaration that the ballot has been so held or that there has been such a failure.

(2) A person shall not make an application under paragraph (1) unless he is a member of the trade union in question at the time of the application and, in the case of an application by virtue of sub-paragraph (a) of that paragraph, was such a member at the time when the ballot was held.

(3) An application under paragraph (1) in respect of any ballot shall not be made at any time after the end of the period of one year beginning with the day on which the result of the ballot is announced by the trade union in question.

(4) The provisions of paragraphs (3) to (13) of Article 52 and the provisions of Article 53 shall apply in relation to an application under paragraph (1) as they apply in relation to an application under the said Article 52, but with the necessary modifications, that is to say, as if—

(a)for any reference to an election there were substituted a reference to a ballot for the purposes of this Part;

(b)for the reference in paragraph (8) of the said Article 52 to Part VII there were substituted a reference to rules approved under Article 59; and

(c)for the reference in paragraph (11) of the said Article 52 to the remedy for a failure to comply with one or more of the provisions of Part VII there were substituted a reference to the remedy—

(i)for the holding of a ballot for the purposes of this Part otherwise than in accordance with rules approved under the said Article 59; or

(ii)for a failure, in relation to any proposed ballot for those purposes, to comply with rules so approved.

Assets and liabilities of political fund

62.—(1) At any time when there is a resolution in force with respect to a trade union, no property shall be added to the union’s political fund other than—

(a)sums representing contributions made to the fund by members of the union or by any person other than the union itself; and

(b)property which accrues to the fund in the course of administering the assets of the fund.

(2) At any time when there is no resolution in force with respect to a trade union which has a political fund—

(a)subject to Article 63(5), no property shall be added to the fund other than that which accrues to the fund in the course of administering the assets of the fund;

(b)no rule of the union shall be taken to require any member of the union to contribute to the fund;

(c)the union may, notwithstanding any of its rules or any trusts on which the political fund is held, transfer the whole or any part of the fund to such other fund of the union as it thinks fit.

(3) No liability of a political fund shall be discharged out of any other fund of the trade union (whether or not any asset of that other fund has been charged in connection with that liability).

(4) Paragraph (3) shall have effect notwithstanding any term or condition on which any liability was incurred.

Position where resolution has ceased to have effect

63.—(1) Where on the holding of a ballot a resolution has ceased to have effect by virtue of paragraph (9) of Article 57, in the circumstances mentioned in sub-paragraph (b) of that paragraph, the trade union may at any time before the expiry of the period of six months beginning with the date on which the ballot was held make payments out of the political fund as if the resolution were still in force.

(2) Nothing in paragraph (1) shall be taken to authorise any payment which would cause the political fund to be in deficit or would increase any deficit in the fund.

(3) On a resolution ceasing to have effect, the trade union—

(a)shall take such steps as are necessary to ensure that the collection of contributions to the political fund is discontinued as soon as is reasonably practicable; and

(b)may, notwithstanding any of its rules, pay any such contribution which is received by it after the date of cessation into any of its other funds.

(4) Where a resolution has ceased to have effect but the trade union has continued to collect contributions to the political fund from any of its members, it shall pay to any member who applies to it for a refund of his contribution the amount collected from him by way of such a contribution after the date of cessation.

(5) Where a resolution has ceased to have effect, any contributions to the political fund paid to the union or to any person on behalf of the union, before the date of cessation, may be paid into the political fund notwithstanding Article 62(2)(a).

(6) Where a resolution has ceased to have effect, any provision made by any rule of the trade union for the purpose of complying with this Part shall cease to have effect—

(a)in a case where the resolution has ceased to have effect by virtue of paragraph (9) of Article 57 in the circumstances mentioned in sub-paragraph (b) of that paragraph, on the date on which the period of six months beginning with the date on which the ballot was held expires; and

(b)in any other case, on the date of cessation.

(7) Nothing in paragraph (6) shall be taken to affect—

(a)any provision made by any rule of the union which is required to enable the union’s political fund to be administered at a time when there is no resolution in force with respect to the union;

(b)the operation of Article 57(3) in relation to any breach occurring before the date on which the rule in question ceased to have effect.

(8) Where a resolution has ceased to have effect, a member of the trade union who has at any time not been a contributor to the political fund of the union shall not, by reason of his not having been a contributor, be—

(a)excluded from any benefits of the union; or

(b)placed in any respect either directly or indirectly under any disability or at any disadvantage as compared with other members of the union (except in relation to the control or management of the political fund).

(9) Where, at any time after a resolution has ceased to have effect—

(a)the trade union holds a ballot; and

(b)the result of the ballot is that a new resolution is passed,

no property which immediately before the date of the ballot was held by or on behalf of the union otherwise than in its political fund, and no sums representing any such property, shall be added to that fund.

(10) Where a resolution ceases to have effect but immediately afterwards there is a new resolution in force with respect to the trade union, the cessation of the old resolution shall be disregarded for the purposes of this Article.

(11) In this Article “date of cessation” means the date on which the resolution which was last in force ceased to have effect.

Remedy for failure to comply with Article 63(3)(a)

64.—(1) Any person who claims that a trade union has failed to comply with Article 63(3)(a) may apply to the High Court for a declaration to that effect if he is a member of the union at the time when the application is made.

(2) Where, on an application under this Article, the High Court is satisfied that a trade union has failed to comply with Article 63(3)(a) it may, if it considers it appropriate to do so in order to secure that the collection of contributions to the political fund is discontinued, make an order requiring the union to take, within such time as may be specified in the order, such steps as may be so specified.

(3) Where an order has been made under this Article, any person who satisfies the requirements of paragraph (4) shall be entitled to enforce obedience to the order as if he had made the application in pursuance of which the order was made.

(4) The requirements are that—

(a)he is a member of the union at the time when proceedings to enforce obedience to the order are begun; and

(b)he was such a member at the time when the order was made.

(5) The remedy of any person for a failure of a trade union to comply with Article 63(3)(a) shall be by way of application under this Article and not otherwise; but nothing in this paragraph shall be taken to prejudice the right of any person to recover any sum payable to him by the union under Article 63(4).

Collection of union dues by employer

65.—(1) Where any person who is a member of a trade union which has a political fund has certified in writing to his employer that, or to the effect that, he is not a contributor to the fund, the employer to whom the certificate was given shall ensure that no amount representing a contribution to the political fund of the union is deducted by him from emoluments payable to the member.

(2) Paragraph (1) does not apply—

(a)before the first day, following the giving of the certificate, on which it is reasonably practicable for the employer to comply with it; or

(b)after the certificate is withdrawn.

(3) Where an employer—

(a)refuses (otherwise than to the extent required by paragraph (1)) to deduct any union dues from emoluments payable to any person who has given a certificate to him under this Article; but

(b)continues to deduct union dues from emoluments payable to other members of the union,

he shall be taken to have failed to comply with this Article unless he satisfies the county court that his refusal is not attributable to the giving of that certificate or otherwise connected with the duty imposed by paragraph (1).

(4) Where, on an application made by a person who claims that his employer has failed to comply with this Article in deducting or refusing to deduct any amount from emoluments payable to him, the county court is satisfied that there has been such a failure it shall make a declaration to that effect.

(5) Where the county court makes such a declaration it may, if it considers it appropriate to do so in order to secure that the failure is not repeated, make an order requiring the employer to take, within such time as may be specified in the order, such steps in relation to emoluments payable by him to the applicant as may be so specified.

(6) This Article shall apply to a member of a trade union which has its head or main office outside Northern Ireland as if—

(a)for references in paragraph (1) to a political fund there were substituted references to a political fund within the meaning of the Trade Union Act 1913(2); and

(b)in paragraph (1) for the words “not a contributor” there were substituted the words “exempt from the obligation to contribute”.

Transitional provisions

66.—(1) Where a resolution under section 3 of the Trade Union Act 1913(3) is in force with respect to a trade union immediately before the appointed day, that resolution and any rule of the union made and approved in pursuance of that section which is in force at that time shall notwithstanding the repeal of that section by this Order continue to have effect as if—

(a)it were a resolution passed under or, as the case may be, a rule made and approved in pursuance of Article 57; and

(b)for any reference to the political objects to which section 3 applied there were substituted a reference to the political objects to which Article 57 applies.

(2) For the purposes of Article 57(9) any resolution to which paragraph (1) applies which was passed more than nine years before the appointed day shall be deemed to have been passed nine years before that day.

(3) If the Certification Officer is satisfied, and certifies, that rules made for the purposes of complying with the provisions of Article 59(1) have been approved by the principal executive committee of a trade union, those rules shall have effect as rules of the trade union for the purposes of Article 59(1) as it applies in relation to the first review, notwithstanding that the provisions of the rules of the union as to the alteration of rules or the making of new rules have not been complied with.

(4) Paragraph (3) applies only where a resolution under section 3 of the Trade Union Act 1913 was in force with respect to the union immediately before the appointed day.

(5) In paragraph (3) “first review” means a ballot which—

(a)is held before the expiry of the period of one year beginning with the appointed day; and

(b)is the first ballot held during that period.

(6) Article 62(3) shall not have effect in relation to any liability incurred before the day on which this Order is made.

Relationship of Part VIII and the Trade Union Act 1913

67.—(1) Subject to Article 65(6) and to paragraphs (3) to (5), the preceding provisions of this Part apply only to a trade union which has its head or main office in Northern Ireland; and, accordingly, the Trade Union Act 1913 shall cease to have effect in relation to any such trade union.

(2) The amendments and repeals to the Trade Union Act 1913 contained in—

(a)Schedules 8 and 9 to the Industrial Relations Act 1971(4);

(b)Schedules 3 and 5 to the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act 1974(5);

(c)Part IV of Schedule 16 and Schedule 18 to the Employment Protection Act 1975(6); and

(d)Schedule 16 to the Employment Protection (Consolidation) Act 1978(7),

shall have effect in Northern Ireland for the purpose of the application of that Act of 1913 to such trade unions as have their head or main offices outside Northern Ireland.

(3) The rules of any such trade union made in pursuance of section 3 of the Trade Union Act 1913(8) shall, in so far as they apply to members of the union in Northern Ireland,—

(a)comply with the requirements of Article 58; and

(b)in so far as they so comply, be subject to the approval of the Certification Officer.

(4) Every member of a trade union which has its head or main office outside Northern Ireland who—

(a)has not delivered to the union the notice referred to in Article 58(1)(a); or

(b)has delivered such a notice but has withdrawn it in accordance with Article 58(2),

shall be deemed for the purposes of the Trade Union Act 1913 to be a member who is exempt from the obligation to contribute to the political fund of the union; and references in that Act to a member who is so exempt shall be construed accordingly.

(5) Article 57(3) and (4) shall apply in relation to rules of a trade union approved—

(a)by the Certification Officer under paragraph (3)(b); or

(b)before the coming into operation of this Article, by the officer appointed to perform in Northern Ireland the functions of registrar of friendly societies,

as they apply in relation to rules made in pursuance of Article 57; and Article 59(4) shall apply to any rules to be approved by the Certification Officer under paragraph (3)(b).

(6) An appeal shall lie, in accordance with Article 70(4), to the Court of Appeal on any question of law arising in any proceedings before, or arising from any decision of, the Certification Officer under this Article.

Interpretation of Part VIII

68.—(1) In this Part—

  • “contributor”, in relation to the political fund of a trade union, has the meaning given by Article 58(5);

  • “overseas member” has the same meaning as in Part VI;

  • “the political fund” has the meaning given by Article 57(2);

  • “post” has the same meaning as in Part VI;

  • “proper address” has the same meaning as in Part VII;

  • “resolution” has the meaning given by Article 57(2).

(2) References in this Part to the holding of a ballot, other than the reference in Article 57(5), are to the holding of a ballot for the purposes of this Part.

(3) This Part applies with the necessary modifications in relation to an unincorporated employers' association as it applies in relation to a trade union.

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