The EEF case for reform has gone to members. Business Editor John Duckers examines the background.
The proposal to shake up the EEF follows a review of the business carried out by the organisation's Council, the national governing body.
Ranging against critic Jeremy Woolridge, who admits he is something of a lone voice, are the governing bodies of the various EEF associations which agreed "overwhelmingly" to modernise the structure by amalgamating and incorporating as a company limited by guarantee.
In the voting information sent out to members, the EEF states: "We believe that by fully integrating our business we can deliver increased benefits to you, our members, through an enhanced range of consistent services, delivered by the best people in their field.
"At EEF, we are planning for our future by facing up to the challenges of today. We are about to take the most significant step in our history, by reshaping the organisation to deliver improvements for all 6,000 of our members.
"We conducted a major review of our business in 2007 to identify how we could improve our offering to members.
"The review told us a lot. There's plenty we are doing right, and our members value us as a trusted partner to their businesses. But it also identified room for improvement in the services we currently offer.
"Above all, it clearly pointed to the need for us to become a more competitive organisation. One which can face up to the business challenges of the 21st century.
"Up until now we have achieved much within EEF by working collaboratively. But in fact, our associations across England and Wales are legally independent and, now that our collective turnover has grown to around £40 million, this makes it difficult to move forward and grow the business cohesively.
"This needs to change. "This change of status and structure will make us a more flexible, agile, efficient organisation, with the added advantage of making EEF a more conventional body, with clearer structures and ownership.
"Offering an improved service to members is a key objective of the proposed change, but it will also allow us to operate more effectively, providing better value for money. By growing the business we will be able to reinvest the proceeds of that growth into the services we offer.
"It will also ensure that EEF's significant assets are being used most effectively for the benefit of our membership as a whole. A feasibility study which we conducted as part of the review shows that, by unlocking our potential as a single organisation and operating more effectively, we could nearly double our turnover within five years.
"The minimum resulting operating surplus of five per cent will enable us to reinvest in new and enhanced services for members.
"In addition, a single organisation will be significantly more tax efficient.
"Operating as one organisation will strengthen our position as the voice of UK manufacturing.
"It will help us further influence policy at regional, national and international levels and strengthen the link between your business and the policy makers."
The document says annual membership fees will not increase by any more than the rate of inflation for at least the first full year following amalgamation.
It promises that all regions will offer the same set of services.
As to how will the new organisation be run, it goes on: "EEF will continue to be a membership organisation, owned and overseen by members."
There will be an elected main board taking strategic decisions and below that an operations board.
"As now, policy committees of members will formulate EEF's position on the economic, education, training, HR/legal, health, safety and environmental issues of the day."
EEF regions will each establish regional councils of member employers. "This will also ensure that EEF's policy and representation work continues to take account of grass-roots concerns when talking to government and will provide a potential route for candidates for main board membership."
One regional council is proposed for each EEF region, meeting quarterly.