Freedom of Information requests by the Welsh Conservatives have uncovered the shocking extent of taxpayer subsidies for Trade Union activities in the Welsh public sector.
We contacted the 38 public bodies in Wales – including the Welsh Government, 4 police forces, 7 local health boards and 22 local authorities – requesting information about union facility time granted to employees.
Only Rhondda Cynon Taff council and North Wales health board, Betsi Cadwaladr, failed to respond.
Across Wales there are around 80 officers employed full-time on ‘Union Facilities Time’, working a total of 2,978 hours per week – at a cost of approximately £2.1 million a year.
An additional 153 officers are employed on a part-time basis to carry out Trade Union responsibilities.
If each member of part time staff worked just 1 day a week on Trade Union ‘Facilities Time’ it would cost the taxpayer an additional £1.03 million (based on an 8 hour day x 52 weeks).
All of the staff members accounted for in the figures above are paid for by the Welsh taxpayer.
Shadow Local Government Secretary and Aberconwy AM, Janet Finch-Saunders, said:
“The taxpayer shouldn’t be picking up the tab for Trade Union duties – that’s what their subscriptions are for.
“Across Wales, public bodies are taking difficult decisions about staffing and funding in order to protect vital services.
“Meanwhile, millions of pounds in vital funds are being diverted away from the frontline to subsidise the political work of the unions.
“It’s a national scandal.
“This money should be spent on more nurses and teachers, not union reps, and there is no justification in this day and age for the rich public sector unions to be receiving public money.”