Issue date
19 Apr 2016

The government has today (Tuesday) backed away from plans to ban workers from opting to pay their union subscriptions through payroll in the public sector – the so-called ‘check-off’ system.

 Ministers announced in the House of Lords that check-off would not be prohibited, as originally intended, but that workers could continue to opt for check-off where unions reimburse any costs to the employer.

 TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “We are delighted the government has listened and backed away from ending check-off in the public sector.

 “Banning workers from choosing to pay union subs in a convenient way through their payroll would, as many have warned, damaged industrial relations and morale in key services. 

 “Today’s decision is the result of months of union and TUC lobbying – and we are glad of the support from peers of all parties and none.

 “While this is an important milestone, the TUC remains opposed to the Trade Union Bill in its entirety and will continue to push for further changes when it is debated again in the House of Commons next week. We will be urging MPs to back sensible amendments from the Lords around the use of electronic balloting, facility time and union political funds.”


- The government was defeated on three votes on the Trade Union Bill in the House of Lords last month. These votes concerned substantial amendments to the bill on electronic balloting, facility time, and the funds used by unions for political campaigning.
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