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Union Funding 2011

Union Funding 2011

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Published by: TheBlueGuerilla on Sep 14, 2012
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55 Tufton Street, London, SW1P 3QL
0845 330 9554 (office hours)
07795 084 113 (24 hours)
Research Note 97 | 25 November 2011
Taxpayer funding of trade unions 2011
Since the TaxPayers‟ Alliance first
revealed the level of taxpayer funding of trade unionslast year it has become a major political issue. Our data has featured in parliamentarydebates and makes a significant contribution to on-going departmental reviews on thesubject. Earlier this year Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude MP and local governmentMinister Bob Neill MP acknowledged public and parliamentary concern about paid time off for trade union activities and duties. They are both looking at reforming this practice,known as public sector facility time.This paper updates our findings for the financial years 2010-11 and 2009-10, exposing the
huge amounts of taxpayers‟ money given to trade unions through direct funding or paid
staff time from public sector bodies. On 30
November 2011, public sector trade unions willconduct one of the largest and most widespread strikes ever seen in the UK. But ourfindings reveal they do so with significant funding from taxpayers at their disposal.This note also reveals that many public sector organisations routinely fail to record theamount of staff-time spent on trade union duties or activities. Almost all public bodies
provide what is described as “reasonable” time off by
the Advisory Conciliation ArbitrationService (ACAS) code of practice.
But bodies that do not record this time make itimpossible to determine whether it is reasonable, or whether it is abused.The key findings of this research are:
Trade Unions received
£113 million
of funding from taxpayers in 2010-11. That is anestimated
£80 million in paid staff-time
£33 million in direct payments
.That is £7 million more in direct payments than 2009-10, although the Skills Funding Agency was unable to provide figures for its legacy organisation in 2009-10.
 At least
2,840 full time equivalent public sector staff 
worked on trade union
activities or duties at taxpayers‟ expense in 2010
-11. This means that there are nowmore taxpayer-funded trade unionists in the UK than British Transport Police officers, of which there are 2,835.
 „ACAS code of practice part 3‟, January 2010
 „British Transport Police about us‟  
55 Tufton Street, London, SW1P 3QL
0845 330 9554 (office hours)
07795 084 113 (24 hours)
 At organisations which provided data for both the years covered in this note, there was
an increase of 32 full time equivalent public sector staff 
from 2009-10.
Our figure of 
2,840 is almost certainly an underestimate.
Bodies that do notrecord facility time acknowledge that staff do utilise it. For example, Wrightington,Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust have 42 union stewards who meet regularly,but the time they spend on this is not recorded.
Only 7 organisations of the 1,300 public sector bodies we surveyed for this report didnot respond.
organisations kept
no record of the time taken off 
by staff tocarry out union duties.
Parliamentary questions have revealed that in the public sector 0.14 per cent of theannual pay bill is spent on facility time, compared to 0.04 per cent in the private sector.If the number of public sector staff working for trade unions were reduced by the sameratio
2,028 full-time equivalent staff could return to frontline services,equivalent to saving £57.2 million
of taxpayers’ money.
The organisation with the highest number of staff working on trade union activities wasthe
Department for Work and Pensions
with 308
full time equivalent staff (seeTable 4, page 32)
had the second highest number, with 181 full time equivalentstaff (see Table 3, page 21)
Birmingham City Council
was the local authority with the
highest number, withnearly 62 full time equivalent staff working on trade union activities and duties (seeTable 5, page 35). The second and third placed local authorities were
29, (see Table 5, page 39)
26 (see Table 5, page 51)
The top
were Defence Equipment and Support with 36 (see Table 3, page18), Transport for London with 31 (see Table 3, page 29) and Remploy with 29 (seeTable 3, page 26)
The organisation in
with the most employees on union duties was theScottish Prison Service, who had 34 full time equivalent staff (see Table 3, page 27)
, Betsi Cadwaladr University Local Health Board came top with nearly 11 (seeTable 7, page 73)
Northern Ireland
, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust had the most with 16
fulltime equivalents (see Table 7, page 70)
The top
police force
the Metropolitan Police Force who had 16 full time equivalentstaff undertaking union duties (see Table 11, page 96)
55 Tufton Street, London, SW1P 3QL
0845 330 9554 (office hours)
07795 084 113 (24 hours)
Trade union representatives are entitled to take paid time off to carry out union duties.This has been enshrined in UK law since the Employment Protection Act of 1975.The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) describe what trade union dutiesmay include:
Negotiating terms and conditions of employment.
Helping with disciplinary or grievance procedures on behalf of trade union members(including accompanying workers at disciplinary or grievance hearings.)
 Accompanying trade union members to meetings to discuss flexible working requestsand requests not to retire.
Negotiating issues about trade union membership.
Discussing issues that affect trade union members (e.g. redundancies or the sale of thebusiness).Reasonable unpaid time off for trade union activities is also a statutory right. Trade unionactivities may include:
op. cit „ACAS code of practice part 3‟, page 7
ibid, page 18
To arrange broadcast interviews, please contact:
Emma Boon
Campaign Director, TaxPayers' Allianceemma.boon@taxpayersalliance.com07736 065 546To discuss the research, please contact:
Christopher Daniel
Policy Analyst, TaxPayers' Alliancechris.daniel@taxpayersalliance.com07538 706 434

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