The Trade Union Act 2016 makes a number of changes to the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 including in relation to political funds held by trade unions and employers associations. The new provisions only apply to new members who join and to new funds set up after the expiry of a transition period. Existing members of trade union and existing political funds will continue to be subject to the current provisions in the 1992 Act.
The purpose of this guidance is to set out the changes that the 2016 Act makes and assist unions in complying with the new provisions particularly with regard to amending their political fund rules.
Sections 11 and 12 of the 2016 Act concern political funds. Section 11 provides that persons who join a trade union after the end of the transition period cannot be required to contribute to the political fund unless they have given notice of their willingness to contribute to that fund (an “opt-in notice”).
The transition period is to be decided by regulations which are to be laid before Parliament. Under the 2016 Act the transition period must be a period of not less than 12 months. It is the Certification Officer’s intention to inform all unions with political funds of the date when the transition period starts and when it ends once it is set by Parliament. Section 11 also applies to new funds set up by trade unions after the transition period.