Union leaders welcome change but remain deeply opposed to the bill
In a significant step-down on the trade union bill, the government has dropped its plans to stop unions from collecting members’ subscriptions directly via their their pay packets.
The abolition of the so-called ‘check-off’ system was highly controversial, since it posed a significant threat to union income. UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis described it as ‘among the most mean-spirited’ proposals in the trade union bill.
Big news in Lords #TUbill debate! Govt concedes principles in Lord Balfe check-off amendment. Will present own amendment at 3rd reading.
— TradesUnionCongress (@The_TUC) April 19, 2016
Pleased to see that the government have seen sense on check off. #tubill still flawed but this is a real improvement
— Dave Prentis (@DavePrentis) April 19, 2016
We are still opposed to the entire #TUbill, but we’ll continue the push for sensible amendments on e-balloting, facility time and pol funds
— Frances O’Grady (@FrancesOGrady) April 19, 2016
Welcoming the news of the government’s u-turn, Prentis commented:
“Now at least UNISON can concentrate on campaigning to protect public sector employees at work and the services they deliver, safe in the knowledge that it will not have to spend the next year running around workplaces with direct debit forms for fear of losing much of its income.”
Frances O’ Grady, TUC General Secretary, commented:
‘Banning workers from choosing to pay union subs in a convenient way through their payroll would, as many have warned, damaged industrial relations and morale in key services. Today’s decision is the result of months of union and TUC lobbying – and we are glad of the support from peers of all parties and none.’
Today is day two of report stage consideration of the trade union bill in the House of Lords. Other aspects of the bill will be debated later this evening, before it returns to the House of Commons next week.Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.