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Employment Relations Act 1999

Conduct of Ballot : Merchant Seamen

142.Sections 230(2A) and 230(2B) of the 1992 Act provide for the situation where a union is conducting an industrial action ballot among its members who are merchant seamen. Merchant seamen are often away from home for long periods and it can be difficult for them to participate in a ballot if voting papers are sent to their home addresses. Sections 230(2A) and 230(2B) therefore require the union to ballot such members on board a ship, or at a port where the ship is, as long as the merchant seamen are at sea, or at a foreign port where their ship is, for the entire period of the ballot. Paragraph 7 replaces these sections with new sections 230(2A) and 230(2B), which in effect extend these requirements to cater for the case where the merchant seamen are at sea or at a foreign port for just a part of the balloting period. These new provisions require a union, if it is reasonably practicable, to ballot a member on board ship, or at a port where the ship is, if:

  • the member will be at sea, or at a foreign port where the ship is, for all or part of the balloting period ; and

  • it will be convenient for the member to receive the ballot paper and to vote in this way.

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