Commenting on government proposals to prevent people who work in the public sector from paying their union membership fees directly from their wages, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said:
“This latest malicious manoeuvre from ministers shows how far they are prepared to go to deny nurses, care workers, teaching assistants, hospital cleaners and town hall staff a voice at work.
“Anyone with a job in the public sector must wonder why the government dislikes them so much that it is set on a series of such spiteful attacks on them through their unions.
“Allowing union subs to be taken directly from peoples’ salaries is convenient for individual employees, their unions and their employers – and it works well in both the public and private sectors of the economy.
“In much of the public sector, unions pay the hospital trust or the local council the cost of taking the subs at source, so there is no cost to the public purse.
“Employees in workplaces where there are unions are more likely to earn more, be better trained, and have safer working conditions, than those where there is no union.
“Ministers are undermining our public services by putting partnership working between unions and employers – that benefits the public – at risk. This is nothing more than a cheap political gesture.
“The government is showing once more that by making it harder for unions in the public sector to stand up for their members, it can never be the party of working people. Attacks on unions are attacks on working people too.”