Why does our money go to trade unions?

August 22, 2011 5:15 PM

Another shocking story of public sector staff working for unions at the taxpayers’ expense has emerged today. Dominic Raab MP has found out that £7 million of our cash has been wasted on 1,200 Home Office employees, police officers and border guards to work for trade unions and Police Federations.

This is a disgraceful misuse of public money, not least because £7 million is a huge sum. Mr Raab goes on to calculate that an extra 300 officers could be paid for with the money going to trade unions. With necessary spending reductions being made, the policing budget savings are among the most controversial. But there's money being wasted on funding union work. This shows that there are easy savings to make that won't damage frontline policing.

Many UK Border Agency staff are represented by the Public and Commercial Services Union, who recently assisted in organising a national 24-hour strike against the cuts. Taxpayers should not be paying for staff to do union work, particularly when unions play such a blatant political role.

This is just another in a string of recent stories on this topic – last week it was revealed that almost half a million pounds of taxpayers' money is given to trade union officials representing Edinburgh City Council staff. A member of that council has called for an investigation by the council’s leader following the release of figures detailing the £473,965 cost. It is an especially alarming figure seeing as it is more than double the amount spent on union work by Glasgow City Council, even though it is a smaller city.

Previous work from the TaxPayers’ Alliance has shown that during the 2009-10 financial year, almost 2,500 full time equivalent public sector employees undertook trade union duties while being paid with our cash. If union officials who work for public bodies wish to undertake their union responsibilities, it must be in their own time, and should not be at taxpayers' expense.

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