Amnesty International avoids strike because not enough people voted

A ballot for industrial action fails to reach the participation threshold of at least 50 per cent of union members

An industrial ballot at Amnesty International has failed to reach the voting threshold, meaning strike action will not take place at the charity.

The ballot was held after the charity said in September that up to 20 redundancies would be made from its 650 staff.

This figure was significantly lower than the 95 redundancies the charity had previously proposed to counter a reported £17m budget shortfall.

But the redundancy proposals led to the trade union Unite pressing ahead with a ballot for industrial action, which ran from 26 September until 7 November. 

The trade union has more than 300 members at the charity. All industrial ballots have to reach a threshold of 50 per cent of union members to allow industrial action to go ahead.

In September, the homelessness charity St Mungo’s narrowly avoided a strike after a ballot among Unite members failed by one person to reach the minimum number of voters for it to be valid.

A spokesman for Unite said the Amnesty ballot was "just below the threshold", but declined to disclose how many staff took part in the vote or the numbers voting for or against industrial action.

Alan Scott, regional coordinating officer at Unite, said in a statement that members had "voted overwhelmingly for industrial action" and it was only the existence of the 50 per cent threshold that prevented a strike going ahead.

"The challenge on meeting the threshold was extreme because many of our members now work in offices abroad and, even with a ballot period of six weeks, many of them did not received the papers because of the state of the local postal service," said Scott.

"The effect of the Tory legislation has been to deny workers their democratic right to take action.

"Had members been able to vote electronically, as Unite proposed when the legislation was introduced, the threshold would have been easily exceeded."

Amnesty said the trade union had informed it that the ballot had failed to reach the threshold.

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