Taking industrial action is a big step for any union.
And with a raft of legislation surrounding any form of industrial action, from ballots to picketing, great care is essential when taking action.
Because of the legal complexity of industrial action, it’s essential that you read the full UNISON guide to industrial action, and talk to your regional organising staff before taking any action.
Read the UNISON guide to industrial action [PDF]
But there are a couple of general principles to bear in mind:
Permission to embark on a national industrial action ballot rests with the general secretary and the industrial action committee, following a request from the national secretary on the behalf of the service group.
The majority of industrial action ballots relate to local disputes with a specific employer, and permission to hold a ballot lies with the relevant regional secretary.
There will be occasions where the regional secretary does not agree to authorise a ballot – in these circumstances the branch has a right to appeal to the industrial action committee.
It is essential that before any ballot, you make sure your membership records are up to date.
Experience shows that employers will challenge the legality of any ballot they believe is based on inaccurate membership data.
Indeed, this is a really good reason to make sure that your records are regularly checked.