TSSA members have voted by more than 8 to 1 in favour of merging with US-based union the Boilermakers in a ballot which smashed recent merger votes. This would be the first time that a British trade union has merged with a north American union.
The ballot of TSSA members closed on Tuesday 1 March and saw a turnout of 32% with more than 5,000 individual members voting in the online-only ballot. Of those who voted, 85% said yes to the merger, with just 15% voting no.
TSSA General Secretary Manuel Cortes said he was “delighted” with both the turnout and the result and vowed that the TSSA leadership “will now put our collective shoulders to the wheel to act on the wishes of our members by making the proposed merger a reality.”
The ballot results in full:
Ballots issued: 15,802
Yes: 4,322 (85%)
No: 767 (15%)
Turnout: 5,089 (32%)
This is one of the biggest turnouts for a merger ballot among trade unions. For comparison, in 2016 broadcasting union Bectu merged with Prospect after an 18% turnout in their ballot returned an 83% yes vote.
TSSA’s ballot of members was run by election services experts Civica. Ballots were issued by email with unique voting ids for the online-only ballot. The ballot was open for three weeks. It followed an online indicative ballot of TSSA workplace reps held in January 2022, in which reps voted 9-1 in favour of merging with the Boilermakers.
“I’m delighted that so many of our members took part in this important ballot on our union’s future,” said Manuel Cortes. “Our members and activists have spoken loud and clear that they back the proposed merger with the Boilermakers. The merger will bring strength and security to our TSSA union at a time when our members need support.”
In terms of next steps, Manuel explained: “Our union's leadership will now be putting our collective shoulders to the wheel to act on the wishes of our members by making the proposed merger a reality.”
TSSA is holding a Special Delegate Conference on Saturday 19 March to consider the merger proposals further.
Both unions are working towards delivering the merger by summer 2022.