Taxpayers pick up £3 million bill to train trade union activists

Taxpayers are picking up the bill to train trade union activists, the Sun has revealed. Trade unions are billing taxpayers for more than £3 million worth of diplomas and qualifications for their own activists. The courses include diplomas in "organising and recruitment","contemporary trade unionism" and certificate in "collective bargaining and employment law" and cost an impressive £2,254 each. In 2009-10 almost 8,000 activists signed up to courses resulting in a £3 million bill for taxpayers.

It's unreasonable that taxpayers are being forced to pick up the bill for trade unions to train their army of activists. But these costs are just the tip of the iceberg, just part of the £113 million we uncovered in paid trade union facility time and direct grants to the unions in 2010-11 (which is, if anything, a significant underestimate due to poor record keeping in many public bodies).

In receiving this massive subsidy from taxpayers, trade unions are able to free up other funds to focus on strike action, agitating for more of taxpayers' money. Taxpayers expect their taxes to be spent on services not bankrolling union coffers and it seems the Government is finally taking note. Last month they started consulting on trade union facility time which is a promising first step to ending or at the very least limiting this scandalous waste of taxpayers' money. They should also increase transparency so we all know exactly how much of our taxes go to the unions. The Government need to act to stop these unfair subsidies.

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