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Page 32, line 36, leave out ("An agreement for or") and insert ("A")
Page 32, line 38, after ("effect") insert ("to the extent specified in paragraph 83(2)")
Page 35, line 22, leave out ("An agreement for or") and insert ("A")
Page 35, line 24, after ("effect") insert ("to the extent specified in paragraph 83(2)")
Page 40, line 18, leave out from ("registered") to end of line 20 and insert ("in the register maintained under section 8 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 shall be treated as ordinarily working in Great Britain unless--
(a) the ship's entry in the register specifies a port outside Great Britain as the port to which the vessel is to be treated as belonging,")
Page 40, line 24, leave out ("(2)(a)") and insert ("(2)")
Page 40, line 40, at end insert ("or 59")
Page 40, line 42, leave out ("58") and insert ("60")
Page 49, line 4, leave out ("or 47")
Page 49, line 48, leave out ("or agreement")
Page 50, line 48, leave out ("or agreement")
Page 51, line 36, leave out ("or agreement")
Page 53, line 49, at end insert--
("(4A) In relation to a residual unit in relation to which a declaration is issued under paragraph 91, references to collective bargaining are to negotiations relating to the matters which were the subject of collective bargaining in relation to the corresponding parent unit.")
Page 54, line 1, leave out ("67(5)(b)")
Page 55, line 28, leave out from ("registered") to end of line 30 and insert ("in the register maintained under section 8 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 shall be treated as ordinarily working in Great Britain unless--
(a) the ship's entry in the register specifies a port outside Great Britain as the port to which the vessel is to be treated as belonging,")

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The noble Lord said: My Lords, I have already spoken to Amendments Nos. 12 to 26 which I beg to move en bloc.

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Schedule 3 [Ballots and notices]:

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 27:


Page 78, line 41, at end insert--

("Separate workplace ballots

. The following shall be substituted for section 228 (separate workplace ballots)--
"Separate workplace ballots.
228.--(1) Subject to subsection (2), this section applies if the members entitled to vote in a ballot by virtue of section 227 do not all have the same workplace.
(2) This section does not apply if the union reasonably believes that all those members have the same workplace.
(3) Subject to section 228A, a separate ballot shall be held for each workplace; and entitlement to vote in each ballot shall be accorded equally to, and restricted to, members of the union who--
(a) are entitled to vote by virtue of section 227, and
(b) have that workplace.
(4) In this section and section 228A "workplace" in relation to a person who is employed means--
(a) if the person works at or from a single set of premises, those premises, and
(b) in any other case, the premises with which the person's employment has the closest connection.
Separate workplaces: single and aggregate ballots.
228A.--(1) Where section 228(3) would require separate ballots to be held for each workplace, a ballot may be held in place of some or all of the separate ballots if one of subsections (2) to (4) is satisfied in relation to it.
(2) This subsection is satisfied in relation to a ballot if the workplace of each member entitled to vote in the ballot is the workplace of at least one member of the union who is affected by the dispute.
(3) This subsection is satisfied in relation to a ballot if entitlement to vote is accorded to, and limited to, all the members of the union who--
(a) according to the union's reasonable belief have an occupation of a particular kind or have any of a number of particular kinds of occupation, and
(b) are employed by a particular employer, or by any of a number of particular employers, with whom the union is in dispute.
(4) This subsection is satisfied in relation to a ballot if entitlement to vote is accorded to, and limited to, all the members of the union who are employed by a particular employer, or by any of a number of particular employers, with whom the union is in dispute.
(5) For the purposes of subsection (2) the following are members of the union affected by a dispute--
(a) if the dispute relates (wholly or partly) to a decision which the union reasonably believes the employer has made or will make concerning a matter specified in

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subsection (1)(a), (b) or (c) of section 244 (meaning of "trade dispute"), members whom the decision directly affects,
(b) if the dispute relates (wholly or partly) to a matter specified in subsection (1)(d) of that section, members whom the matter directly affects,
(c) if the dispute relates (wholly or partly) to a matter specified in subsection (1)(e) of that section, persons whose membership or non-membership is in dispute,
(d) if the dispute relates (wholly or partly) to a matter specified in subsection (1)(f) of that section, officials of the union who have used or would use the facilities concerned in the dispute." ").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I gave notice at Report stage that the Government planned to table this amendment concerning the holding of an industrial action ballot across two or more workplaces. The amendment was tabled yesterday, and for that I apologise. As I said at Report stage, the current law in this area is notoriously complicated--indeed, incomprehensible--and we wished to be sure that our proposals were correct in all respects. We did not achieve that state of certainty in time to table the amendment earlier. In view of that and the fact that the amendment is quite lengthy, I must describe its effect in some detail to ensure that its meaning is clear.

Section 228 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 places restrictions on the circumstances in which a single aggregate ballot may be held of members having separate workplaces. There have been a number of problems with the law. First and foremost, it is notoriously complex and difficult to apply in practice. It depends on the identification of a "common distinguishing factor" which applies to the members balloted and to no other members. Experienced employment lawyers have found the formula virtually unintelligible and very difficult to apply to actual cases. Therefore, it presents problems to both unions and employers. The law cries out for some clearer formulation of words to specify the circumstances in which an aggregate ballot can be held. The new Section 228A introduced by this amendment provides this clarification.

Before I describe the new provision in detail I should like to describe another problem with the current Section 228 which this amendment tackles. I refer here to the definition in the section of "place of work", requiring premises to be "occupied" by the employer for it to qualify. This has created difficulties in the past, most recently in the case of Intercity West Coast Limited v. RMT where it was almost impossible for the union to know whether or not particular adjacent premises occupied by different employers with whom the union was in dispute should be regarded as being separate. The amendment provides, in subsection (4) of the new Section 228 to be inserted into the 1992 Act, a simpler form of words to define a workplace. This removes all reference to the need for the premises to be occupied by the employer, and it responds to criticisms of the existing law.

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New Section 228 states that a union must undertake separate workplace ballots for each workplace unless specific circumstances obtain. The three sets of circumstances are set out in the new Section 228A. First, subsections (2) and (5) of new Section 228A allow the union to aggregate a ballot across separate workplaces if at least one of its members at each of the workplaces is directly affected by the dispute. So, if a dispute concerned Sunday working, and such working occurred at workplaces A and B, but not workplace C, the union could hold an aggregate ballot across workplaces A and B, but it would have to hold a separate ballot at workplace C.

These provisions mean that a union can aggregate a ballot at those workplaces which are indisputably "close" to the issue at dispute. It seems eminently reasonable, where the same circumstances apply, to allow for the balloting across the workplaces to be aggregated. This should simplify the process for all concerned: union members, the union and the employer. Where one or more workers are directly involved, it will normally be the case that others at the same workplace, sometimes many others, will rightly feel themselves to be indirectly involved by an employers' handling of an issue; for example, the way the employer handles a matter may set a precedent for the handling of similar matters in relation to other workers.

Obviously, this formulation does not allow aggregation to occur where a workplace has nobody directly affected by a dispute, but where many or all are indirectly affected. This circumstance should be relatively rare, however. As I have explained, the union would have to hold a separate ballot of members at that workplace if it wished those members to take part in the industrial action.

The second circumstance where aggregation is permitted is where the union ballots each and every one of its members in a particular occupational category who are employed by a particular employer or group of employers.

Thirdly, aggregation is permitted where the union ballots each and every one of its members employed by a particular employer or employers. These two types of all-inclusive or omnibus ballots are in fact permitted under the existing Section 228. What we have done, therefore, in subsections (3) and (4) is to spell this out, thereby removing any possible uncertainty about the matter.

The current law is opaque and highly restrictive in its effects. It is based on the false premise that the holding of a single aggregate ballot across different workplaces provides great scope for abuse to occur. In fact, there is little or no evidence that unions have abused the balloting process to force their members at moderate workplaces to take action by aggregating their votes with those from a larger, militant workplace. Such tactics would anyway backfire. Democracy has spread within unions. Unwilling workers will simply not obey a call by their union to take action if the dispute does not affect them at all. Also, such tactics would adversely affect the size of any ballot majority. Unions are most

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interested in achieving large majorities on large turn-outs. They know that such outcomes have a greater impact in persuading the employer to reach a settlement.

Our proposals provide clearer criteria to define the circumstances where an aggregate ballot can be held. They are also less burdensome and restrictive. However, they retain legitimate limitations on the ability of unions to hold such ballots so that members at a particular workplace cannot be balloted with those at other workplaces where their workplace has no real connection with the dispute except in the case where all the members employed by their employer are balloted. The Government have thought long and hard about this amendment and believe that they have found the right balance. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.


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