Threat to automatic union fee payments is petulant obstruction

Conservative ministers know that the automatic payment of trade union subscriptions from salaries is achieved by a simple keystroke these days – it is absolutely no burden on employers.

Their plan to stop public sector workers from paying in this manner should therefore be seen as what it is – a sulky, ill-tempered attack on the workforce for daring to belong to a workers’ representative organisation.

The process is not outdated – it’s bang-up-to-date.

Ending it would not give workers more control – they have control now, simply by saying that they are union members and they want their subscriptions taken from their salaries.

Ending it would increase the burden on workers’ already-limited personal time – they would have to go through the time-consuming process of creating direct debits from their bank accounts.

This is a waste of time for everybody involved.

The purpose is obvious – reduce union funding, making it more difficult for them to take industrial action, as the Conservative Government’s unnecessary attack on workers intensifies over the next few years.

The philosophy is that workers are lazy, and won’t be bothered to create the direct debits necessary to keep the funds flowing to the unions.

It seems unlikely that the plan will be hard-fought in Parliament. Let’s face it, New Labour was hardly union-friendly, despite receiving a great deal of funding from them.

If this proposal is enacted, then it will be up to the unions to make sure members can make the change quickly and easily – most probably by drawing up the direct debit agreement for them, so all they have to do is check it, sign and deliver it.

Clever union leaders will also use this as a springboard for a membership drive, pointing out that it can only be a prelude to further attacks on the UK’s workforce.

Are you going to fight this erosion of your rights – or are you just going to bend over for the Conservatives and let them do whatever they want to you?

Plans to stop public sector workers automatically paying subscriptions to trade unions through their salaries have been unveiled by the government.

Ministers say the process is “outdated” and ending it would give workers more control and save more than £6m a year by cutting employers’ administration.

But unions could lose funds and say it is a “vindictive political attack” that will “poison industrial relations”.

It follows plans for reforms of union laws, including tighter strike rules.

Civil servants, teachers and nurses are among the union members who will have to arrange for the fees to be collected from their bank accounts by direct debit, under the proposals to update legislation in the Trade Union Bill.

 The government says the so-called check-off system of taking union dues through wages was introduced at a time when many workers did not have bank accounts.

It said it was now a “taxpayer-funded administrative burden” on employers.

Source: Automatic union fee payments ‘to end in public sector’ – BBC News

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7 thoughts on “Threat to automatic union fee payments is petulant obstruction

  1. marcusdemowbray

    Of course, the Tories want to reduce any chance of any opposition party getting in to power; they even hated their coalition partner and behaved as if they had a mandate to rule WITHOUT EVEN CONSULTING THEM in some cases.

    Logically speaking, any party which truly believed in DEMOCRACY and ACCOUNTABILITY would want the funding of ALL parties to be 100% open and in the interests of democracy.

    The Tory Party’s funding, funders, back-handers, career opportunities and “revolving doors”, lobbying fees and donations are a National Disgrace, they should put their own house in order before trying to destroy another!

    Before his first term as Prime “Real Lightweight” (Obama) PM CaMoron said in public was the biggest issue facing Parliamentary Democracy and he was “determined” to make reforms.

    Now into his 2nd term, and like action on tax avoidance, like his “At all costs” broken promises to improve flood defences, like his promise to be a “One Nation” government “for all the people”, and like SO MANY other examples, virtually everything CaMoron utters is at best drivel at worst lies. Truly “the most facile and unprincipled PM” of the last 100 years.

  2. jeffrey davies

    i wonder will they stop banksters giving em monies nah dont be silly the torys take millions from em

  3. Ian

    How do Tories manage to convince people they aren’t mean-spirited arses when they do stuff like this?

    Having sais that, there are many mean-spirited folk in the country who need someone to vote for. On the radio during the last TfL strike, one man-in-the-street interviewee said ‘I haven’t had a pay rise in 5 years, why should they get one?’ [it wasn’t even about a pay rise], that just shows how backwards, nasty, myopic, ignorant and cowardly people can be. Hence Tory governments.

  4. Joan Edington

    The philosophy that workers are too lazy is partially true. I was a rep when Thatcher brought in the rule that employers had to ask their individual employees, every 3 years, whether they still wanted to continue paying their political levy to the Labour Party. An incredible number of members simply couldn’t be bothered to fill in the answer forms and the levy dropped considerably. Also, I understood at the time, many employers couldn’t be bothered with the hassle of asking their members and consequently withdrew the check-off option.

    I do feel that the direct debit option shouldn’t be compulsory, since there are still many of the lowest paid who do not have bank accounts. It is just another attack on the workers who need a union most. It is a follow-up of the government’s insistence that everything must be done online, thereby severely disadvantaging those who cannot afford the costs of the internet.

  5. wildswimmerpete

    @Joan Edington
    The Tory insistence that everything is done online (which includes that car-crash Universal Credit) isn’t to do with the cost as such, but a wish to disenfranchise people who won’t vote Tory. Which social stratum has least access to computers and broadband connections, also those with least computer literacy? Even a smartphone isn’t much good if you can’t afford the PAYG top-ups, and from recent experience using a 3G-enabled laptop mobile internet is slow and bloody expensive.

  6. mrmarcpc

    The biggest crooks of all are the tories, so they let their banker pals do whatever they like but will stop people sending their hard earned money, something both tories and bankers know nothing about, to support the unions, and Britain thought fascism was dead, it’s alive and well in these posh bastards and there’s more nazi ideas on the way!

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