UNISON starts preparing for political fund change

Union sets up lay working group to develop proposals on changing funds to opting in system, required by Trade Union Act

UNISON has started preparing for a key change from this year’s Trade Union Act – moving to new members having to opt-in to the union’s political fund.

Until now, UNISON members have decided which part of the union’s political fund – Labour Link or the general political fund (GPF) – they wanted part of their subs to go to, with the option to opt-out so none of their subs went into the fund.

Now a group of leading UNISON lay activists from its Labour Link committee, GPF committee and NEC finance committee have come together in a working group to develop proposals on how the fund will operate under the new act.

This will be followed by a consultation with members.

The new law will mean all new members are likely to be required to ‘opt-in’ from the start and, potentially, pay a lower sub rate if they choose not to.

Existing members will not be affected by the change, and will still be able to opt-out at anytime.

Changes required by the act are likely to come into force in late 2017 or early 2018, and any rule changes that might be needed will be considered by next year’s UNISON conference.

The new Trade Union Act does not apply in Northern Ireland, where UNISON has different arrangements for the political fund.