CORRECTION: Trade Union Rich List 2022: UNISON general secretaries received remuneration of over £225,000

The original press release referred to UNISON's current general secretary. This has been corrected to refer to both the current and former general secretaries, and all entries for individuals have been removed.


Embargoed: 00:01 Wednesday 19th October 2022


The TaxPayers’ Alliance has revealed that the average remuneration of the top 30 public sector union roles was £152,272 in 2021.

The annual Trade Union Rich List showed that the general secretaries of UNISON received £225,891 combined in total remuneration. 

After a summer disrupted by industrial action, militant union bosses are planning to once again shut down the public sector. The teaching unions are threatening further strikes, despite nine senior staff at education unions taking home £1,404,252 between them. The general secretary of the Communication Workers Union, who are behind the strikes which have crippled Royal Mail, took home £142,485 in total remuneration. 

The figures also show that the former general secretary and chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, which has been marred by a recent report suggesting the RCN's governing body was 'not fit for purpose', received total remuneration of £181,671.

Total remuneration includes gross salary, employers’ national insurance contribution, pension contributions and other benefits, such as a car or housing allowance and health insurance.




Key findings:

  • The average total remuneration of the 30 senior union roles on more than £100,000 was £152,272 in 2021.

  • There were six public sector trade unions with two senior staff on total remuneration of more than £100,000. These were; the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen; the National Education Union; the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers; the Prison Officers’ Association; the Royal College of Nursing; and the Fire Brigades Union.

  • Nine senior staff at education unions shared £1,404,252 between them. 


John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said:

“Taxpayers are furious at the hypocrisy of union heads lining their own pockets. 

“These public sector red barons are dooming millions to misery, but are doing very well indeed as some of Britain’s biggest earners.

“Union bosses should not be threatening to bring the country to its knees while strutting about on six-figure salaries.” 

TPA spokespeople are available for live and pre-recorded broadcast interviews via 07795 084 113 (no texts)


Media contact:

Elliot Keck
Investigations Campaign Manager, TaxPayers' Alliance
[email protected]
24-hour media hotline: 07795 084 113 (no texts)


Notes to editors:

  1. 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

  2. TaxPayers' Alliance's advisory council.

  3. The TaxPayers’ Alliance proposals to cap subsidies to the trade unions via facility time were adopted by the previous government.
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