What would you do with £27 million?
Becky Wright, Director Unions 21 / 6 October 2017
In July, the UK trade union movement received fantastic news that UNISON had won a landmark court victory against the introduction of fees to employment tribunals. Not only that, but the government is also set to have to refund more than £27m to the thousands of people charged for taking claims to tribunals since July 2013.
At a recent event, I found myself chatting with Bronwyn McKenna on the work that she and her team had put in and what that means for unions. Ever since, I've been mulling over in my head this question:
What would you do with £27 million coming back into the movement?
Now, realistically I know that the costs that are being repaid aren't solely going to the union movement, but I would wager that some monies will be coming back to unions, so what would you spend that money on?
David Arnold, our senior fellow for innovation and change is currently working on a piece in the run up to our conference next year on 'The Future of Unions'. I'm already excited to see what he's discussing and the ideas that are being generated from his publication. While we're not intending or will have a definitive answer to what a future union would look like, one thing highlighted by Norman Crowtherlast month screams out at me - should we be investing for innovation? Could the reimbursement we get go to a general union fund to try out new ideas and target new industries and members?
We don't know when we're going to be getting the fees back, the government by all accounts seem to be dragging their heels on payment. This means we've got some time to have a conversation over what we're going to do with it and it's a discussion worth having if we want to secure the future of unions today.