Thursday, December 08, 2022

Publication: Why Strike Ballots are Undemocratic (The Political Quarterly)

My latest paper has just been published, with open access, in The Political Quarterly. It's about strike ballots, so rather topical at the moment.

Here's the abstract:

"Since 2016, new legislation governing strike ballots has made it more difficult for trade unions to achieve a mandate for industrial action. Such a mandate now requires that a majority of members vote in the ballot. This article argues that these balloting processes are undemocratic. The turnout requirement means that a mandate for industrial action does not simply depend on its level of popular support amongst union members. This has surprising consequences. Sometimes opponents of action would be better advised to abstain, rather than to vote against it. Thus, it is not always clear how they should vote. Whatever they do, their actions may be counterproductive. Further, even when they do know how best to promote their desired outcome, there may be a conflict between voting strategically and clearly expressing their true preferences. Consequently, there is no guarantee that the outcome of the ballot accurately reflects what people really want."

And here's a word cloud (produced by this handy site):

If you want to know a bit more, without reading the full paper, then it's based on issues that I blogged about earlier in the year, so that post is a kind of summary or preview of the paper.

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