§ Mr. Lawrence
asked the Paymaster General whether he is satisfied that union members are being made aware of their rights to contract out of paying the political levy; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Peter Bottomley
I am not satisfied that all trade union members are being made aware of their rights to contract out of paying the political levy.
The TUC issued guidance for affiliated unions on good practice in respect of political fund arrangements in February 1984. This was subsequently followed up by a 400W model information sheet to be given to every member individually after a successful political fund review ballot had been held. The TUC model information sheet reminded members that they were entitled to contract out of paying the levy. It explained that they would do so either by completing a standard form obtainable from their union or by simply giving notice of their objection to the union in writing. In this respect it did no more than restate the obligations imposed on trade unions by the Trade Union Act 1913 and by their own rules.
I have been monitoring the implementation of the TUC guidance through my own contacts with trade unionists. I have to say that I have seen little evidence so far that union members are being notified individually of their rights.