The Birmingham Post reported today that a city councillor, Martin Mullaney, wants a scruntiny committee to quiz union representatives to see whether they give value for money when carrying out their duties, after discovering through the Freedom of Information Act that such reps cost local taxpayers £1.4m.
Mullaney quite rightly asks why it isn’t the responsibility of the unions themselves to pay for their officials? Cabinet human resources member Alan Rudge has claimed that the council’s position is one inherited from the previous Labour administration, and that contractual obligations stop them from axing these positions despite the drain on public finances they represent.
So those that signed ten year contracts will go on, unchallenged and heavily funded by the Birmingham taxpayer…
And of course this doesn’t end at the big city councils, one of our Sandwell TPA activists uncovered some similar information about this local council through FoI this week, revealing that cash-strapped Sandwell Council pays unions in excess of £600,000 per year.
The trouble is - within the bureaucratic monolith that it is Birmingham City Council – it's likely that the increasing rate money is being siphoned by these unions year-upon-year goes relatively unchecked by elected members. As the Post says:
“It is all too easy to see how these subsidies might have grown from the provision of a desk and telephone 30 or 40 years ago, to full-blown and well equipped offices today along with inflated salaries”
Councillor Mullaney is right; these union officials need to be vetted and axed where appropriate with the taxpayers’ liability for salary subsidies completely phased out, and in the spirit of fairness and decency, taxpayers should be given reprieve from the extortionate costs of these highly paid officials of questionable value.