Union Members' Interests or Personal Gain?

The story of Arthur Scargill – former President of the National Union of Mineworkers – still having a union funded London flat has brought to light more revelations about the culture of union management.

According to the BBC payments for the flat amounts to thousands of pounds every year.  A motion will be put to the union’s annual conference later this month over whether funding for the flat should continue; a motion which Scargill calls "complete nonsense".  He stated:

"Every one of my predecessors has been allowed to remain in their properties following retirement.

"There are many people who have two homes. I have a rented property which I shall cease to have when I die and a property which I bought with my own money in Yorkshire."

Indeed, Scargill is correct that union leaders are given plenty of luxuries and the TPA has some up and coming research, which shows that many union chief executives are taking home six figure salaries every year. With union fat cats pocketing such hefty pay packets and Scargill’s insistence of being entitled to a Barbican flat indefinitely, one has to question if the union leaders are in the business of representing the interests of their own members or personal prestige.

BA Chief Executive Willie Walsh has argued that the ongoing row at BA is being prolonged because a faction of the Unite union - British Airlines Stewards and Stewardesses Association (Bassa) – is hell-bent “on preserving the appearance of their own importance.” And refuses to recognize the ‘agreement in principal’ with BA management. Meanwhile the professional reputation of BA – the thing that provides BA employees with the best perks in the airline industry – is going down the drain.  Is that another example of unions putting their own interests ahead of their members?

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