ANTI-STRIKE laws will lead to unions being hit with a whopping bill for £11 million upfront, the government’s impact assessment revealed yesterday.
Unions will have to fork out over £3m to switch members whose subs are currently collected at source onto direct debits and more than another £3m in postage and administrative costs associated with new notification requirements.
Over the next five years, the government estimates that the changes, which also include new strike ballot thresholds and an assault on union political funds, will rack up further costs of £26m.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady stormed: "Today’s impact assessment lays bare the huge costs unions will face as a result of the Trade Union Bill.
"Union members’ subs should be spent on services and support for workers, not wasted on dealing with unnecessary bureaucracy from the government.
"We believe the government has underestimated the true financial impact this Bill could have for unions.
"However, even by its own estimates, unions and their members are set to be hit with a stonking upfront bill of over £11m, followed by £26m more over the next five years.
"UK trade unions are already the most heavily regulated in western Europe. This Bill is a blatant attempt to make it harder for workers to stand up for decent services and safety at work, or defend their jobs and pay."
The government also confirmed yesterday that special higher strike thresholds would be applied to the NHS, schools, fire brigades, transport and nuclear workers.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash branded the legislation "an outrageous attack on our basic human rights."
He added: "It is no surprise that the Tories are resorting to the policies of General Franco to try and tighten the noose of the anti-union laws around the necks of those workers in the front line of the fight against austerity.
"They will have a battle on their hands."
Association of Teachers and Lecturers leader Dr Mary Bousted warned: "This will lead to a greater likelihood of legal challenges from employers which will prolong disputes, when, like the wider public, union members want a resolution.
"This legislation will do nothing to serve the interests of students or their parents."