Union Funding at Tameside Council Rockets Up 48%

May 31, 2011 5:57 PM

Last year, the TPA blew the whistle on how much councils were wasting on paying full time union staff. In 2009/2010 Tameside Council employed 8.4 full time equivalent union staff at a cost of £227,469. A year later the Daily Mail published an article which gave the figures for 2010/2011 and revealed that Tameside had employed the same number of full time equivalent staff, but at an increased cost of £336,718. This places Tameside Council fourth in the country for the highest union spend.

What's worth noting is that despite all the cuts to public spending, union grandees at Tameside Council have had a 48 per cent pay rise! The average union rep in Tameside is paid £40,085. This is almost double the salary of what the average person earns in Tameside.

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="141" caption="Yvonne Cartey"]Yvonne Cartey[/caption]

We can all be thankful that the figure next year will be less as long time union stalwarts, Unison's Anne Keighley and GMB's Yvonne Cartey, have both taken a nice voluntary redundancy payment. And Yvonne Cartey hasn't really left the council at all as she's now a Labour councillor for the St. Michael's ward. I think it stinks that any council employee could take redundancy and then cosily jump aboard to become a councillor for their previous employer. I have asked Councillor Yvonne Cartey in the local press how much she got from Tameside Council in her redundancy package and if she actually plans on rightly returning her redundancy money to the taxpayers of Tameside. So far she has ignored my letters and not responded.

Tameside Council's Executive Leader, Councillor Kieran Quinn, who was until recently a trade union representative for the Communications Workers Union, did a webchat with the local paper, the Tameside Advertiser. One person asked:
"Why are council taxpayers funding councils employees'  union representatives, when large companies will only fund a works convener?"

Kieran's response was:
"Many UK and international companies understand the magnificent amount of work trade unions and workers representatives bring to these organisations assisting these companies to make key financial and planning decisions. Tameside Council also accept a huge amount of support given by trade union and workers reps, and as far as I’m concerned, if the help and advice given was removed Tameside would be a poorer place for it."

Tameside is already a poorer place by the tune of £336,718, and many large companies don't bother with trade union reps anymore. They went away in the 80's and only linger in former nationalised industries. Whilst I am not against employees having trade union representation if they so wish, this should come out directly from their union subs and not from taxpayers' cash.

I asked Kieran as to why union staff got a 48 per cent increase whilst others had their pay cut. He responded not by answering the question, but instead chose to smear the TaxPayers' Alliance:
"I dispute the TaxPayers’ Alliance figures. This organisation is continually shown to be wrong with the figures they quote, however that never gets reported because the story has moved on. Tameside has a reputation for using taxpayers’ money well. We are the only excellent Council in Greater Manchester, getting the highest possible score for value for money in how we use taxpayers’ money and that will continue as we face up to the largest ever cuts in our budget forced on us by the Tory led government."

The figures for union funding given to the Daily Mail came directly from a freedom of information request to Tameside Council. So any figures which are wrong, must be due to a response from a council employee. Tameside may well have a gleaming report from the Audit Commission, but we all know that this is a four star ticking exercise.

I know that Kieran and the council's press office monitor posts made on this blog, so come on, tell us why union pay has gone up by 48 per cent? Tell us how much your union reps are getting in redundancy pay and if one of your councillors will be returning that pay?Last year, the TPA blew the whistle on how much councils were wasting on paying full time union staff. In 2009/2010 Tameside Council employed 8.4 full time equivalent union staff at a cost of £227,469. A year later the Daily Mail published an article which gave the figures for 2010/2011 and revealed that Tameside had employed the same number of full time equivalent staff, but at an increased cost of £336,718. This places Tameside Council fourth in the country for the highest union spend.

What's worth noting is that despite all the cuts to public spending, union grandees at Tameside Council have had a 48 per cent pay rise! The average union rep in Tameside is paid £40,085. This is almost double the salary of what the average person earns in Tameside.

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="141" caption="Yvonne Cartey"]Yvonne Cartey[/caption]

We can all be thankful that the figure next year will be less as long time union stalwarts, Unison's Anne Keighley and GMB's Yvonne Cartey, have both taken a nice voluntary redundancy payment. And Yvonne Cartey hasn't really left the council at all as she's now a Labour councillor for the St. Michael's ward. I think it stinks that any council employee could take redundancy and then cosily jump aboard to become a councillor for their previous employer. I have asked Councillor Yvonne Cartey in the local press how much she got from Tameside Council in her redundancy package and if she actually plans on rightly returning her redundancy money to the taxpayers of Tameside. So far she has ignored my letters and not responded.

Tameside Council's Executive Leader, Councillor Kieran Quinn, who was until recently a trade union representative for the Communications Workers Union, did a webchat with the local paper, the Tameside Advertiser. One person asked:
"Why are council taxpayers funding councils employees'  union representatives, when large companies will only fund a works convener?"

Kieran's response was:
"Many UK and international companies understand the magnificent amount of work trade unions and workers representatives bring to these organisations assisting these companies to make key financial and planning decisions. Tameside Council also accept a huge amount of support given by trade union and workers reps, and as far as I’m concerned, if the help and advice given was removed Tameside would be a poorer place for it."

Tameside is already a poorer place by the tune of £336,718, and many large companies don't bother with trade union reps anymore. They went away in the 80's and only linger in former nationalised industries. Whilst I am not against employees having trade union representation if they so wish, this should come out directly from their union subs and not from taxpayers' cash.

I asked Kieran as to why union staff got a 48 per cent increase whilst others had their pay cut. He responded not by answering the question, but instead chose to smear the TaxPayers' Alliance:
"I dispute the TaxPayers’ Alliance figures. This organisation is continually shown to be wrong with the figures they quote, however that never gets reported because the story has moved on. Tameside has a reputation for using taxpayers’ money well. We are the only excellent Council in Greater Manchester, getting the highest possible score for value for money in how we use taxpayers’ money and that will continue as we face up to the largest ever cuts in our budget forced on us by the Tory led government."

The figures for union funding given to the Daily Mail came directly from a freedom of information request to Tameside Council. So any figures which are wrong, must be due to a response from a council employee. Tameside may well have a gleaming report from the Audit Commission, but we all know that this is a four star ticking exercise.

I know that Kieran and the council's press office monitor posts made on this blog, so come on, tell us why union pay has gone up by 48 per cent? Tell us how much your union reps are getting in redundancy pay and if one of your councillors will be returning that pay?

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