The union’s general secretary Mike Clancy explained: “Check off is not the automatic payment of union subs – it is the conscious choice of very many union members. They now face having their membership cancelled by their employer and losing the protection of their union.”
In addition, Prospect has questioned the government’s assertion that administering check off costs the public purse more than £6 million.
He cited Danny Alexander’s letter to Whitehall departments on July 8, 2014, when chief secretary to the Treasury. It read: “Departments should be aware that there is no fiscal case for doing this, as the unions have offered to pay any costs associated with check off, which are in any case minimal.”
Indeed, when asked by Prospect, departments have been unable to identify the costs of check off.
Around a third of Prospect’s 115,000-strong specialist membership works in the public sector and the union says that the government’s plan to end check off will also impose a huge and unnecessary administrative burden as unions will have to get millions of members to transfer to direct debit.
“I believe the government is counting on many getting lost in the process,” added Clancy.
The many private sector employers offering check off is also evidence that the payment method is regarded as a simple and efficient means of administering union subscriptions, Prospect said.
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