A nice day for civil service protest. What could the PCS be agitating over today? Poor care at the NHS? MPs getting a pay freeze while theirs is capped at 1%? Something the public could really get behind? No. Today they are protesting at Eric Pickles fulfilling his promise to end union “check off” – where union subscriptions are automatically taken from civil servants’ pay packets and instead making them opt in to pay it and the subsequent political levy. DCLG is the first department to make this entirely reasonable move, but it seems Pickles has bigger plans:
“Reducing such public subsidies to trade unions is a practical way that councils can save money, to keep council tax down and protect frontline services for local residents – including union members themselves. And my department is practising what we preach to councils. Trade union activities and campaigning should be funded through consenting members’ subscriptions, not bankrolled by the taxpayer. Freedom from state dependency will mean that trade union bosses will better reflect and respond to the wishes and views of the grassroots members.”
To the barricades!