The government has announced further changes to union memberships for public sector workers.
Under the forthcoming Trade Union Bill, public sector union members will need to arrange a direct debit in order to pay their trade union fees. At present employers deduct the fees at payroll.
The government claims that the existing process is outdated, and that they intend to give workers more control over their subscriptions. They also estimate that employers will save over £6 million each year in administration costs.
This move follows the government’s recently announced change to the funding of the Labour Party.
Minister for the Cabinet Office Matthew Hancock said: “In the 21st century era of direct debits and digital payments, public resources should not be used to support the collection of trade union subscriptions.”
“We are bringing greater transparency to employees – making it easier for them to choose whether or not to pay subscriptions and which union to join.”
The proposed Trade Union Bill has already angered union leaders. Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “It is a crude attempt to starve trade unions of money, money that is then used every day to promote training, workplace safety and hold up decent pay for millions of working people throughout the UK.”
“This is nothing other than unnecessary interference by a government that has not got a clue about the reality of working life and the vital role unions have in workers’ lives.”