After the news on 19 April that the government was dropping the changes to ″check off″ in the Trade Union Bill, it has now also rowed back slightly on changes to trade union funding of political parties.
The bill requires unions to move from a system of members ″opting out″ of their union′s political fund to one where members have to ″opt in″. Labour Party funding will take a huge hit. The government is delaying the implementation of the change for 12 months, allowing unions time to ″adjust″. Hardly a huge win, but trade union leaders and officials have been spending a lot of energy ″lobbying″ for it, and claiming a victory, while other hugely damaging aspects of the bill are still being passed. An immediate change over to ″opt in″, like the immediate change over for ″check off″, would have left unions and the Labour Party without resources at a critical point. However this is not a victory on the majority of the Bill, which will significantly hobble workers’ ability to organise.