Embargoed: 00:01 Thursday 23 June 2022
- TaxPayers’ Alliance reveals £1.4m remuneration of top education union bosses, with some threatening strikes over pay.
- Campaign group estimates education unions could have received up to £83.3m in taxpayer support via trade union facility time.
- In response, Tory MP and former teacher Jonathan Gullis says they’ve become an “embarrassment to the profession” and calls for them to resign.
With teaching unions now threatening strike action over pay, the TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) has revealed that nine union leaders received a combined remuneration of £1,397,042 across 2020-21.
Latest available data from trade union annual returns shows that the joint heads of the National Education Union received £293,358 in total remuneration. The highest paid education union boss was the general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, Paul Whiteman, who had a total remuneration of £216,387. The general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, which is demanding above inflation pay rises of 12 per cent this year, received £185,111 up to December 2020. This included £28,482.43 for a ‘union car’.
Following the recent admission from ministers that taxpayer support for unions was “difficult to understand”, the TPA also estimated educational institutions could be providing up to £83.3 million of facility time support to unions. Trade union facility time is paid time-off taken by trade union representatives to carry out union duties. Cabinet Office data shows education public bodies - such as schools and universities - had at least 4,423 FTE trade union representatives in 2020-21, but more than four in five bodies defy government requirements to publish their facility time information.
The joint heads of the National Education Union received £293,358 in total remuneration. Dr Mary Bousted received £152,398, while Kevin Courtney received £140,960 in the year up to August 2021.
The general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, Paul Whiteman, had a total remuneration of £216,387. This included a gross salary of £165,036, employers national insurance contributions of £22,378, pension contribution of £23,105 and a car allowance of £5,868. This was the highest of all teaching unions in the UK.
Education public bodies - such as schools and universities - had at least 4,423 FTE trade union representatives in 2020-21, of which 57 spent 100 per cent of their working hours on facility time. Five of these were at the University of Bristol, the most in the country.
64 trade union representatives spent between 51 and 99 per cent of their working hours on facility time. The University of the Arts London had the most, at seven.
The total cost of trade union facility time for the 497 education institutions who reported was £14,986,117. There are over 32,000 schools in the UK.
- With only 18 per cent of institutions supplying data, the value of trade union facility time in education could be up to £83.3 million.
Duncan Simpson, research director of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said:
“Taxpayers are fed up with lectures and disruption from loaded union leaders.
“Top teaching union officials, with their bumper earnings backed up by the taxpayer, have become completely removed from the people they are supposed to represent.
“Ministers should stand firm and instead stop taxpayer support for the union bosses needlessly threatening to shut down schools with strikes.”
Former teacher and trade unionist, Jonathan Gullis MP, said:
"These top-paid teaching unions don't have a leg to stand on.
"Education union barons are pushing their own political agenda by threatening to go on strike, regardless of the life chances of young people they will destroy, proving once again the embarrassment they have become to the profession.
“Bousted and Courtney should do the honourable thing and resign.”
TPA spokespeople are available for live and pre-recorded broadcast interviews via 07795 084 113 (no texts)
Investigations Campaign Manager, TaxPayers' Alliance
24-hour media hotline: 07795 084 113 (no texts)
Notes to editors:
Founded in 2004 by Matthew Elliott and Andrew Allum, the TaxPayers' Alliance (TPA) campaigns to reform taxes and public services, cut waste and speak up for British taxpayers. Find out more at www.taxpayersalliance.com.
TaxPayers' Alliance's advisory council.
Jacob Rees-Mogg MP and Heather Wheeler MP endorsed a recent TaxPayers’ Alliance report revealing that 24,000 public sector workers were moonlighting as trade union reps. Cabinet Office data on facility time can be found here, with information on compliance rates here.
The TaxPayers’ Alliance publish their annual Trade Union Rich List every year. Last year’s release found the average remuneration of the top 30 public sector union bosses was £150,755 in 2020. Total remuneration includes gross salary, employers’ national insurance contribution, pension contributions and other benefits, such as a car or housing allowance and health insurance.
- The TaxPayers’ Alliance has launched a petition to ‘Stop Subsidising the Strikes’.