How much do 'Pilgrims' cost you?

June 09, 2011 7:00 PM

Jane Pilgrim is a nurse, and is employed by the NHS, however she doesn't spend her day tending the sick. She spends her day working full-time for her union.

Last week, Liam Billington wrote on how union funding at Tameside Council has risen by 48% and I highlighted how in Hull UNISON had a 'countdown to power' before the recent local elections.

In our report on union funding last year, we showed how much YOU PAY for union activities in your local council, NHS Trust, and other public bodies. Here are some figures from 2009/10:

  • Ofsted are charged with inspecting schools, but we also contribute around £175K to union representatives.
  • Over £600K of our money assists unions in the Valuation Office Agency.
  • The next time you pay your taxes, remember over £6 million of our money pays for union activities in HMRC.
  • Union activities in councils cost over £22 million, and this is a conservative estimate, as many councils (like many Quangos, NHS Trusts and government departments) do not record the amount of time spent on union business when they should be working for us.

In a written answer to a question in parliament, DCLG minister Bob Neil said:

"I am aware of the public and parliamentary concern expressed in recent weeks over trade union officials paid for from the public purse. The coalition Government's transparency agenda will help ensure that cash payments to trade unions and the titles of staff posts in local government are open to public scrutiny. At a time when all local authorities need to make sensible savings to help pay off the budget deficit, councillors will rightly wish to review the merits of (full-time) union officials funded by the taxpayer and the provision of the office facilities to trade unions."

The more pressure that can be exerted on these pilgrims, the better. If you feel that the taxpayer funding of union officials has to stop, here's what you can do:

  • Read our report to find out how many union representatives there are in your local council, NHS trust and fire service.
  • Write to your MP to insist that the taxpayer funding of union activists has to stop.

Any responses you get, please forward them on to us. We pay our taxes for legitimate government services, not for officials union members should be paying for themselves.

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