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What Happens Next? Indicative Ballot to Formal Industrial Action Ballot

Dear Member,

As you are most likely aware your informal indicative ballot met all criteria to move to a formal industrial action ballot.

Attached is a Ballot FAQ which covers a few additional questions that I haven’t covered below, I recommend reading it if you have any concerns.

What happens next?

Over the next week you should receive your postal industrial action ballot paper. Your ballot paper should come in an envelope like the one below.

This is NOT the same as the virtual ballot you filled out previously! This ballot must be sent and returned via the postal service for a legal industrial action ballot to take place!

Upon receiving your postal ballot it’s incredibly important that you return it as soon as possible.

The ballot closes November 29th and that date is the last date that Civica can accept returned ballots. Please don’t wait for the deadline or anywhere near it, due to postal strikes and other factors we highly recommend returning your ballot ASAP once you have received it.

The ballot questions

There will be two questions for you to answer on your ballot paper.

  • Are you prepared to take part in strike action?

Yes / No

  • Are you prepared to take part in industrial action short of a strike?

Yes / No

What is meant by action short of strike?

This could involve a range of actions; the most common form is known as “work to rule”. Options could include one or more of the below:

  • Voluntary overtime ban
  • Refusal to agree requests for short notice changes to start times
  • Refusal to agree to work on a day not originally published/scheduled
  • Work to Rule (work to contractual hours only)

We will be discussing the options in more detail with your Reps should you choose this option, but it hopefully goes without saying that it will need to have some form of impact on the trusts to get the desired result.

What would strike action mean for us?

Striking is always a last resort and it’s your most powerful option.

Many of you rightfully feel you are at the last resort stage already.

Railway and postal strikes have historically taken place over large periods of time, however that’s not the case with all strikes. Many are resolved before the date of the proposed strike or after one or two days of action. Whilst I can’t give you any reassurances how long your strike would have to last in order for you to get a fair pay offer, I can promise GMB will stand by your side.

Any decision regarding length of strikes, critical care cover and picket lines would be discussed with your Reps should you choose to take this option.

Please remember you are legally entitled to strike, and you cannot to punished as long as you are part of GMB and follow the rules (which aren’t complicated).

I haven’t received my ballot paper, what should I do?

 The only 2 groups that I am responsible for over this period are:

EEAS (East of England Ambulance Service)


NSFT (Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust)

All other services and NHS workplaces in my area either didn’t hit the threshold to move to a formal ballot, usually due to non-voters, which count as votes against action or are being covered by a different regional organiser.

If you do not receive your ballot paper before Friday 28th October, you should let me know as soon as possible. So that I can arrange a replacement.

Please email me with the subject “Missing Ballot” and include in the email your Name, Membership number and Full address (house name or number, street, town, county, and post code)

How can I help with the ballot?

Everyone will have a part to play, whether it’s badgering your colleague to send their ballot form back or just sending you own back ASAP.

Some of you may want to take your support to the next level! If so, there are many ways you can do so.

  1. You can inform me that you would like to become an industrial action volunteer.

Volunteers will be sent a pack including posters to place on their workplace notice boards and a rather snazzy badge.

  1.  If you don’t feel like becoming a volunteer but would be happy to print a hang a poster on your notice board, I have attached a copy of some artwork you can use in your workplace!
  1.  We are always looking for enthusiastic members to become Workplace organisers / Reps / Shop stewards (they are all the same thing).

A Shop steward’s role doesn’t end after industrial action, it’s a long-term role that you will have training and ongoing support in order to do the role. A shop steward’s typical duties involve, representing members in disciplinary, sickness and grievance meetings, undertaking risk assessments and working with the trust on day-to-day issues that affect employees moral and ability to do their roles.

I would like to hear what others think of the ballot. (Webinar)

Below is a link to a Microsoft Teams meeting. This meeting will be a great way for you all to hear the thoughts and feelings of your fellow members, Reps and other GMB officials. The meeting will be held on 31/10/22 between 18:00 – 19:00

Unlike some webinars, this isn’t just a listening exercise, we want to hear your thoughts, your feelings, and your concerns, as well as answer any questions you may have.

Join on your computer, mobile app or room device

Click here to join the meeting

Meeting ID: 363 987 061 459
Passcode: Rx7edK

I still have some unanswered questions, who can help me get answers?

There are plenty of people who are willing to help. If you are an EEAS member you have a wonderful branch run by Donna and Chris who are two of the most passionate people you could hope to meet. There are also plenty of shop stewards covering most of EEAS. If you need help knowing who to contact, please feel free to email me, letting me know which part of the country you work in, and I can find someone to help and support you.

For both EEAS and Norfolk and Suffolk hospital trust, you also have me, unlike Donna and Chris and your shop stewards, I do not come from an NHS background. However, I have been part of GMB for over 8 years now, working with members in a variety of different industries. Whilst I may not always understand the ins and outs of your specific job roles, I do have a strong understanding of employment law, GMB processes and I deeply care for all my members.

Also attached to this email is a document that covers a lot of similar points mentioned in this email along with some additional points you may be interested in.


Finally, I would like to thank you all for taking part in the informal stage of the ballot, but now we need as many responses as possible to the formal postal ballot. Every non-vote is classed as a vote against industrial action! So please send your ballot back. Please be mindful of postal strikes which may cause some delays.

Hopefully see you all on the webinar or in person over the next few weeks!

Kind regards

Ashley Foster

GMB Regional Organiser – Norwich Office

GMB London Region

Mobile: 07974 250946

Office: 01603 626492



Posted: 28th October 2022

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