40. Mr. Andy Stewart
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will initiate discussions with trade union leaders on the balloting of members before strike action.
§ Mr. Peter Bottomley
Statutory provisions governing the holding of secret ballots before the calling of strikes or other industrial action were introduced by the Trade Union Act 1984 following the failure of most trade unions to adopt this practice voluntarily. These provisions have been in force since 26 September 1984 and are described fully in the Department's booklet "A guide to the Trade Union Act 1984". Moreover, the well publicised legal proceedings arising from the recent industrial action at Austin Rover will have left trade union leaders in no doubt about the potential consequences of failing to ballot their members before instructing them to strike.