Ministers will still force through the funding measure which may cost Labour £8 million a year - but over a 12-month transitional period which may give unions time to accommodate it. [Image: Oli Scarff/Getty Images].

Ministers will still force through the funding measure which may cost Labour £8 million a year – but over a 12-month transitional period which may give unions time to accommodate it. [Image: Oli Scarff/Getty Images].

So the Conservative Government that wanted public sector staff take out direct debits for union subscriptions, refused to countenance e-voting for strike ballots and vowed to end automatic subscription to unions’ political funds is left with only the last part intact.

For how long, one wonders?

David Cameron might as well tear up the Trade Union Bill and forget about it. The increase to a 12-month transitional period will give all the unions time to rearrange their funding anyway.

Downing Street has agreed to a partial climbdown on reforms of trade unions amid warnings that the EU remain campaign needs to keep their members on side for the 23 June referendum.

After a protracted battle over the trade union bill, the government proposed delaying changes to political funding and agreed to a trial of e-voting for strike ballots.

Ministers will still force trade unionists to opt into their organisation’s political fund, rather than subscribing automatically, in a move that Labour has warned could cost the party up to £8m a year.

However, amendments tabled by the government on Tuesday afternoon would mean the changes now come into force after a longer transitional period of 12 months rather than three.

Ministers also agreed to pilot e-voting for strike ballots – a change suggested by the House of Lords.

It comes after a previous climbdown over plans to make all civil servants and staff in the wider public sector who belong to a union switch to direct debits or make other arrangements to pay their fees, rather than having them deducted from their salaries.

Source: No 10 makes new U-turn over trade union bill | Politics | The Guardian

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