Opinion Former Article

NASUWT: Election of Boris Johnson as London Mayor - Capricious decision on a minority turnout

Responding to Boris Johnson's call for changes to the law to make it harder for unions to take industrial action by setting a threshold for the level of turnout in ballots, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers' union, said:

"Boris Johnson and those who support his call should come clean about their real intentions.

"The call to prevent action being taken unless 50% of those eligible to vote do so is merely a staging post towards their real intention of wishing to withdraw the right from workers to strike.

"The democratic process for any ballots is to give those eligible to vote the opportunity to do so.

"They have a right to cast a vote. They have the right to choose which way to cast their vote and they have the right not to cast a vote at all.

"Unions do everything possible to maximise turnout and participation.

"The key question is why a higher bar is required for union ballots than, for example, electing the Mayor of London or an MP? The turnout for Boris Johnson's election was 45.33%. To quote Boris Johnson's own words does that mean this was a 'capricious decision on a minority turnout?'

"This call for further draconian interference in the democratic and lawful ballots conducted by trade unions is all part of the anti-trade union agenda which characterised the Tories in the 80s and 90s and which is clearly in the DNA of their successors."


Stuart Gannon
NASUWT Press Office

Tel: 020 7420 9681
Mobile (and out of hours contact): 07966 198894
Address: 5 King Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 8SD

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