Plans for £20,000 fines for trade unions breaking governance laws

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is consulting on new fines of up to £20,000 for trade unions who are breaking governance laws.

Under the proposals, the union regulator, the Certification Officer, will be able to issue fines of up to £20,000 for breaking the law including serious breaches of election rules or mismanagement of their political funds.

Currently the Certification Officer cannot impose a financial penalty, instead issuing a declaration or an enforcement order if a union breaches its statutory obligations under the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act.

The new proposed powers the Certification Officer will be able to fine unions for breaches like: failing to ensure senior positions are not held by someone with a criminal record; breaching requirements for elections to senior positions; and mismanagement of political funds.

A spokesperson for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy commented: “Trade unions exist to represent workers’ interests and make decisions which can affect millions of people’s lives, so it is right for the government to ensure they are run responsibly.

“The proposed powers will make sure unions are properly regulated in the future to ensure they truly represent the interests of their members.”