Author: Richard Evans, Chief Executive Officer and General Secretary
When members voted in 2016 to establish a Political Fund, trade union legislation required that participation would be on an ‘opt-out’ basis, i.e. members would become automatic contributors unless they actively said they did not want to participate.
However, the Trade Union Bill was before parliament and contained the clear intention that all existing and any future political funds would be changed to an ‘opt-in’ arrangement, i.e. members would be invited to contribute and they had to actively say that they wanted to do so.
Consequently, we advised members that this was the basis on which the Fund would operate. We were right and we were wrong.
The Trade Union Act when passed did not introduce immediate opting-in. Instead it provided for a ‘transition period’.
As a result we can now advise the following:
This change only affects members in England, Scotland and Wales.
For members in Northern Ireland, nothing has changed. As before, if they want to contribute to the Fund, they should opt-in.
More information on the background to these changes can be found on the Political Fund home page.
UK Council have amended Section 17 of the Society Handbook to take account of the changes.
We do apologise to members for the inconvenience caused by this change to the operation of the Political Fund. It is frustrating for everyone but parliament changed the provisions in the Trade Union Act and the Society must comply with the law.
Please do not let this vexing change diminish your support for the Fund. See the key points below about why the Fund is so important.
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