Sometimes employees need to vote in a protected action ballot. This is to take protected industrial action when bargaining for a new agreement.
On this page:
Employees must vote in a protected action ballot to take industrial action.
The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) holds a ballot when we ask them to.
A ballot can happen when:
- bargaining fails for a new enterprise agreement
- the existing agreement is out-of-date.
The employees’ bargaining representatives must apply to us using Form F34 first.
In the application, they should:
- describe a genuine attempt to find a solution
- say if they want a ballot agent to organise the ballot (otherwise we ask the AEC to do it).
The proposed new agreement should not be a greenfields or multi-enterprise agreement.
When we make a ballot order
If we approve the application, we will make an order.
The order will include:
- the name of each applicant for the order
- the group or groups of employees who will take part
- what questions will be on the ballot
- the date the ballot closes.
Who votes in a ballot
If you are an employee, you can vote in a protected action ballot if:
- the proposed enterprise agreement will cover you
- the people who applied for the ballot are your bargaining representatives
- you are part of the group of employees we have put in the order.
When a ballot leads to industrial action
Industrial action can go ahead if:
- at least 50% of people on the voting roll took part in the ballot
- more than 50% of the votes favour the industrial action.
When the AEC or ballot agent declares the result:
Who pays for the ballot
If the AEC holds the protected action ballot, the Australian Government pays for it.
If the applicants for the order want to use a ballot agent, they must pay the full cost. This is the case for both complete and incomplete ballots.