TRADE UNION BILL – CHECK OFF PROPOSALS
The Trade Union Bill has continued its passage through Parliament and was progressed to the Report Stage on 16th March 2016.
As you are aware, the Bill is a draconian piece of legislation which threatens the basic right to strike, in addition to placing massive burdens of various types on the trade union movement.
One aspect of the Bill is an attack on check-off (also known as ‘paybill’), or the deduction of union subscriptions from wages, in the public sector. Public sector employers are defined as follows:
- a) An employer is a relevant public sector employer if the employer is a public authority specified, or of a description specified, in regulations made by a Minister of the Crown.
- b) A Minister of the Crown may by regulations provide, in relation to a body or other person that is not a public authority but has functions of a public nature and is funded wholly or partly from public funds, that the body or other person is to be treated as a public authority for the purposes of this section.
This means that Tory ministers can force companies to withdraw paybill deductions from our members who currently pay their Union subscriptions by that means.
The Union has identified that we have members paying their subscriptions via check-off in Network Rail, TOC’s and Bus companies. We have sought legal advice but the Executive Committee believes that we should encourage our members to transfer to direct debit to thwart the government’s blatant attack on our Union.
The matter was placed before the National Executive Committee at the March Statutory Meeting. The following report from the Organisation, Training and Education Sub-Committee was adopted by the National Executive Committee:
“That we instruct the General Secretary to initiate a campaign to encourage all members on paybill deductions to transfer to Direct Debit.”
As part of this campaign, it has been identified that there is a body of administrative work that will be required which will need to be overseen and project managed. Dave Jones, our Regional Administration Manager from Birmingham, has been temporarily seconded to this project to coordinate our efforts until its eventual conclusion. I have therefore made arrangements for the Midlands Regional Office to be covered during Dave’s secondment.
Over the coming weeks we shall be contacting members affected to ask that they transfer to Direct Debit and would encourage members, representatives, branches and regional councils to support our efforts to get a maximum sign up for Direct Debit
I shall be writing again with further details.