If any of these stages have not been followed then it is likely that any industrial action which follows will be unofficial. However, ‘minor’ accidental non-compliances will be unlikely to result in any action being declared unofficial. It is important to take legal advice on the specific circumstances of each situation.
For ballots where voting papers were sent to employees on or after 1 March 2017, there are additional voting thresholds and different rules on the duration of the mandate for industrial action. These are indicated below.
Ballots opened before 1 March 2017 are still relevant because as long as the industrial action started within the mandated time period there is no fixed end date to the validity of the ballot.
1. The trade union gives notice to the employer that they are going to hold a ballot at least seven days before ballot papers are sent to employees.
2. The trade union must tell the employer of the proposed date ballot papers will be sent to employees