Welsh taxpayers foot the bill for civil servants performing trade union duties

August 22, 2012 10:47 AM

The Welsh Government has faced demands for a review of taxpayer-funded trade union activity, after it came to light that over the last two years, 91 Welsh Government employees have been undertaking full or part-time trade union duties costing taxpayers £1.25m. Last year, we discovered that trade unions across the UK received at least £113 million in subsidies from taxpayers through facility time and direct grants.

Welsh Assembly Member Mohammed Asghar criticised the Welsh Government for squandering so much taxpayers’ money on union activities, but his concerns have been dismissed, with officials saying that facility time time "plays a vital role in representing members' interests". Whilst we appreciate the rights of workers to take part in union activities in their own time, the Welsh Government’s defence completely misses the point: that unions continue to abuse this very generous subsidy despite collecting membership fees from their own members. If trade unions want this practice to continue then they should be funded from their own coffers, not taxpayers’ pockets.

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