TPA reveals Public Sector Trade Union Rich List

For immediate release

As TUC conference gets underway today, the TaxPayers' Alliance (TPA) releases new research revealing that 31 public sector trade union leaders took home pay packets of at least £100,000 or more in 2017.

In addition to these generous pay packets for union bosses, staff across the public sector received at least £79.7 million for trade union facility time activities, on top of their normal salaries. Facility time is paid time-off during working hours for trade union representatives to carry out trade union duties. 

Many of the most active unions, such as railway unions which strike frequently, receive substantially more each year in direct taxpayer subsidy: net government support to the rail industry was £4.2 billion in 2016-17. Students have also lost teaching time and contact hours because of taxpayer-funded lecturers’ intransigence. 

Click here to read the full report

Key Findings:
  • 31 trade union leaders took home pay packets of £100,000 or more. This places them comfortably within the category of 'wealthy' as defined by Labour Party's Shadow Minister John McDonnell; they are firmly in the top 5 per cent of earners in the UK. 
  • Total pay of the union leaders earning over £100,000 was over £4,067,142
  • The highest paid public sector trade union boss was the general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, Paul Whiteman. His remuneration was £212,981 in 2017. This included a salary of £161,672, employers’ national insurance contribution of £21,656, pension contribution of £19,970, car benefit of £6,231 and £3,452 for health insurance.
  • Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, received £174,999.
  • 4 senior staff at the railway unions (ASLEF, RMT and TSSA) share £496,461 between them.

Top 10 well paid Public Sector Trade Union bosses


Commenting on this report John O'Connell, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said:

"These union bosses claim to speak for workers but it looks hypocritical when they take home whopping salaries at the same time as they criticise high pay elsewhere. Worse still, the union coffers that their pay comes from are boosted by millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money, which makes it easier for them to offer these generous pay packets while they agitate for strikes and misery for everyone else."

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