The government has revealed its plans to eradicate the practice of “check off” across the public sector, in an attempt to modernise the relationship between employees and trade unions.
Under the present check off process, many public sector employees who are also union members have their subscriptions taken directly from their salary.
The practice was founded “before direct debits or digital payments existed as a convenient and secure way for people to transfer money”, and is now considered outdated.
The changes will enable employees to set up their own direct debit with their preferred trade union, giving them more consumer protection under the Direct Debit Guarantee.
Matt Hancock, Cabinet Officer Minister, said of the changes: “In the 21st century era of direct debits and digital payments, public resources should not be used to support the collection of trade union subscriptions.”
Hancock pointed out that by ending this outdated practice, they are “bringing greater transparency to employees – making it easier for them to choose whether or not to pay subscriptions and which union to join”.