Union roles cost council £631k

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SHEFFIELD Council has the 12th highest number of full-time trade union officials in the UK, according to statistics from the Taxpayers’ Alliance.

The organisation has revealed there are 22 people in paid union roles, costing the council £631,500 a year in wages.

There is one union official at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, costing £28,000 a year – even though the hospital trust has a similar number of staff.

The number of Sheffield Council full-time officials is the fourth-highest of any council in the country.

Opposition Lib Dem leader on Sheffield Council, Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, said: “We value the role that trade unions play in representing the work force. However, these figures show that the council needs to conduct a review into how these costs can be reduced. “Trade unions spend millions of pounds a year through political donations to the Labour Party, so I don’t think it is unreasonable to ask them to pay for their own staff instead of letting the taxpayer deal with the bill.”

Coun Mohammed added: “Given the current squeeze on spending we need to make sure that every penny is invested wisely.

“I hope Labour councillors’ party political interests don’t get in the way of them doing the right thing for Sheffield, which would be to commission a review.”

Sheffield Council said it pays for full-time union officials to carry out statutory trade union duties.

A spokesman said that the duties would otherwise be carried out on a part-time basis – which would involve a much higher number of staff.