The public service union Unison's ballot of its members in local government for action to improve their 2.475% pay offer produced a small majority for action, but the union's Local Government Executive, meeting on 29 October, decided by a large majority to accept the offer and not to call action.
According to Unison's official announcement: “The ballot closed last Friday, 26 October, and saw 144,719 valid ballot papers returned, with 74,631 members (or 51.6%) voting for action and 70,088 (48.4%) voting against. The committee... overwhelmingly voted for a statement which read: However, in all the circumstances, including the narrowness of the majority and the size of the poll, this result does not constitute the basis for viable industrial action to break the government’s pay policy.”
Even a small majority for action is surprising given:
(1) The official material with the ballot paper argued formally in favour of action, but put most of its emphasis on talking up the size of the concessions the employers had already made and the difficulties of action.
(2) Unison's backdown in health
(3) The CWU leaders making the postal workers' dispute peter out.
The turnout is also not as low as feared, though many local government workers did fail to get ballot papers because of the postal strike.