Anger at £475k cost of union staff

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OPPOSITION politicians are calling for an investigation into the ‘exorbitant’ cost of full-time trade union officials at Sheffield Council.

Liberal Democrat members are unhappy about £476,479 spent on full-time union officials last year, in addition to the cost of a further 61 members of council staff who perform union duties on a part-time basis. The opposition group has put forward a motion to Wednesday’s full council meeting, which calls for an ‘urgent review of the expenditure on trade union officials’.

Coun Simon Clement-Jones, shadow cabinet member for finance, said: “While we value the important role unions play in representing their members, asking local taxpayers to pick up this extortionate bill is grossly unfair, particularly at a time when frontline services are being cut.

“We’re calling for an urgent review and immediate action to ensure taxpayers get value for money.”

The Trades Union Congress said full-time union representatives negotiating on behalf of their colleagues produce significant cost savings, with ‘more productive and better-trained workforces, along with fewer cases taken to employment tribunals’ among the benefits.

The TUC says staff are also less likely to leave, meaning less is spent on recruitment.