It’s been eight months since the Trade Union Bill was announced, and the fight against it has been a long one.
The Bill as it stands is still incredibly flawed – with attacks on members’ right to strike and restrictions on facility time. Whilst today’s concession from the government on check-off is a significant victory for our union and our movement – our battle continues on the rest of the bill.
Yet as a result of today’s changes, UNISON will still be able to collect subs from our members via their employers (at no cost to the taxpayer). This is a common sense response to a problem that doesn’t really exist – because employers are happy for staff to pay their subs through check off.
For months now, I’ve been meeting with MPs, peers, ministers and even Bishops (they said they’d pray for us) trying to win the argument over check-off. Today’s decision is a vindication of that work and a vindication of our union’s campaign.
This is a change that wasn’t in the interest of public service workers, employers or those who rely upon the services they provide. I’m glad that the government have seen sense at this late stage.
Now at least UNISON can concentrate on campaigning to protect public sector employees at work – and the services they provide – without wasting time running around workplaces with direct debit forms to sign up members who are happy with how their membership is processed.
Instead, we can focus on the issues that matter to our members – and that’s a real victory.