Friday, 20 March 2015

Prioritise Motion 108 at UNISON NDC 2015: Withdraw support for the Tax Refund Company

Please prioritise Motion 108 for UNISON's National Delegates Conference.

London Met University Branch - alongside our close neighbours in the City and Islington FE College - are calling on UNISON to withdraw support for the Tax Refund Company - Personal Taxation Services. We tried to submit this through the region but we ran out of time.  

The motion is set out below and is self explanatory. Furthermore we have written to our members discouraging use of this service and sent a letter to the Chair of the Services to Members Committee all of which we've put on our website here. I had to dissuade a member from leaving our union after using their 'service' which is in fact a profit making operation, not a UNISON in-house service.  

We should be a campaigning union; an organising, democratic organisation that encourages participation in our collective resistance to injustice in the workplace. We should not simply be a 'servicing' union without muscle. 

However, when we do provide services to members, at the very least we should provide a decent one. 

So please prioritise Motion 108: Tax refund Company. Our members deserve better. 
This Conference notes: 

1. The Tax Refund Company is advertised to UNISON members by email and through letters to their home address. This company has been advertised to members as 'UNISON's Tax Refund Service - check you're not paying too much tax!' 

2. The information in the adverts which are sent to members have emphasised the word 'free' by putting it both in bold and uppercase. 

3. UNISON has used the following language to inform members about the 39% fee for using the service: "for every £1 of tax they get back, you will get 61p, GUARANTEED" 

4. HMRC provide clear advice on their website about how to claim your tax back for free. 

5. UNISON provide welfare support to members through our own Charity 'There for You'. 

This Conference believes: 

1. Advertising the Tax Refund Company as 'UNISON's Tax Refund Service - check you're not paying too much tax!' gives the false impression that it is a UNISON owned service. 

2. Highlighting the word 'free' gives the initial impression to a member scanning the information that it is a free service for members. 

3. The persuasive language used to advertise the company is misleading UNISON members by disguising the amount of fee to be paid. 

4. UNISON should only be advertising services to members which are ethical and in the interest of members. 

This Conference resolves to call on the NEC to: 

1. Withdraw its support and promotion for the Tax Refund Company to members 

2. Provide clear information to members about where to find the information about how they can claim their tax back free of charge. 

3. Provide Welfare officers at a local and regional level with information and guidance on how to support members to claim their tax back free of charge. 

4. Review all products and services endorsed by UNISON – and confirm that they are ethical and in the interests of members.

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