‘Unions are good value for money’

UNION bosses say their representatives provide good value for money after being attacked by a national group.

Campaigners claim taxpayers are funding trade unions to the tune of £113m a year as members take time out from their normal work to carry out union duties.

The TaxPayers’ Alliance report says there are now at least the equivalent of 2,840 full-time staff working on trade union activities or duties at taxpayers’ expense.

But UNISON members in Hartlepool say they have dozens of representatives working on an ad-hoc basis on behalf of 2,000 union members.

In Hartlepool, the figures show in 2009-10 there was the equivalent of two full time posts at an estimated cost of £56,385.

The figures were the same for 2010-11.

Meanwhile, GMB had the paid staff time equivalent of 0.16 at an estimated cost of £4,511.

Unison has about 2,000 Hartlepool Borough Council staff as members in all council departments.

They are represented by 45 union stewards and offices, 54 health and safety representatives and 14 union learning representatives, who are all council employees.

Edwin Jeffries, joint branch secretary of UNISON Hartlepool, said: “The union representatives provide very good value for money.”

Matthew Sinclair, director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Taxpayers shouldn’t be funding staff to work for trade unions, providing them with a huge activist base to support strikes and freeing up resources for political campaigns.”