UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

New lobbying laws will muzzle unions during General Elections

The Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning & Trade Union Administration Bill was published yesterday and contains two significant anti union measures - a draconian restriction on trade union political expenditure as well as imposing new administrative demands on unions.

City AM reports that the bill ‘contains many measures that appear to be especially designed to frustrate unions, such a reduction in the amount third party campaigning organisations can spend during elections to £390,000.

Labour could be hit hard by the move as it receives substantial support from third party union campaigns, which will also now be included in party spending limits.’ UNISON alone spent more than £670,000 in this manner during the 2010 general election. This will be reduced to less than £40,000 if the Bill gets on the statute book - making UNISON's GPF redundant when it matters most:

The TUC’s public response has focused on the administrative measures relating to union membership records perhaps understating the significance of the restrictions on union political activity:

In contrast, Liberal Democrat Lord Paul Tyler cites the Bill as marking ‘a major and rather unexpected advance’ – welcoming the move to restrict the activities of ‘non party actors’ in the year running up to a general election: