How taxpayers' money funds trade union campaigns

It’s the end of another week in Westminster when the issue of taxpayer-funded trade union activity has been on the agenda. Wednesday morning saw MPs debating the issue and now new evidence appears which suggests that the problem has reached a whole new level, with taxpayer-subsidised trade union branches openly campaigning against government policy in the very departments in which their members are supposed to be working. 

The Department of Work & Pensions’ (DWP) Workfare scheme has been in the news recently and several online campaigns opposing  it have appeared such as the ones here and here.

Both these online campaigns list a number of union branches supporting them, including Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) East London DWP branch, PCS DWP Wirral Branch and PCS at the DWP Liverpool.

Our recent paper on the taxpayer funding of trade unions revealed, among other things, the fact that the DWP had the largest number of full-time equivalent trade unionists being funded by the taxpayer of any government department – and those PCS branches at local DWP offices will be among the beneficiaries.

Unions in other wings of government departments supporting the campaigns include the PCS at the Land Registry Computer Systems Branch Plymouth, Unison at Doncaster Local Government, and unions in a variety of local councils.

Taxpayers will be astounded that union branches in government departments can take taxpayers’ money whilst actively campaigning against policies they or their close colleagues may be involved in implementing.

This makes the case for cutting off the taxpayer subsidy to the unions all the more urgent.

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