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£36m is a tiny amount of money, and arguably worth spending to maintain harmonious labour relations.
"The annual cost to the taxpayer is £36,000,000. It has been pointed out that this is the equivalent of the salary of over 900 nurses or the cost of over 10,000 primary school places."
I'd say that's not quite so insubstantial.
Economics for Sun readers
and it piffles into insignificance when compared to the amount of tax dodging that goes on by companies and the wealthy ETC ETC
Especially if it frees up time as other people aren't doing part-time union work that keep eating into their professional responsibilities in their main job. Efficiency is important.
rather than getting already employed civil servants to do it?
It would have the double benefit of also leaving the Unions with less money to feed back to the Labour Party through the dodgy slush fund that currently exists.
if they spend the whole time doing union work, they should be paid by the union.
how can they be a rep for an organisation if they're not employed by that organisation?
and do no work on its behalf?
because an organisation consists of people and not just bosses
I make no bones with a proportion of Public Money being used to pay reps wages to pay for their representation of staff at their company/department during work hours. However, it is pretty immoral for unions to use public funds and their members to receive a publicly funded wage to undertake “political” work instead of the job they were employed for.
I don’t have much against unions, and if I was in a different job I would 100% join one for the support and security. I have seen a lot of the good that they can do for people and employees. The sad fact of the matter is that we will never see a Government deal with the issue properly because, of the two main parties, one relies on the unions and the other one seems allergic to them.
the majority of them do a time split where they do their own job part time and they do their union work on other days.
You'll never see a Government "deal with it" because it's a system that is mutually beneficial for both sides, however much ire it draws from right wing troll bloggers.
doesn't stop it being wrong.
Don't know what you're on about re `political` work, the union representative spends paid time dealing with employee grievances/issues/etc, not flyering constituents or whatever.
I see enough of it
But on that basis, when they're doing government work, the taxpayer can pay for it, and then they're doing Union work, the Union can pay for it.
So the Government are comprimising by allowing they're employees time to do Union work, but they don't pay for it. That seems fair to me.
that seems fair to me.
then where's the benefit to the employer?
*then where's the benefit to the employee?
Which organisation is guntrip talking about? The public sector, or the union? They can work for both, obv, but surely a rep represents the employees, not the employer, so I can't see a requirement that a rep needs to work for the same company as the people s/he represents.
A rep should be paid pro rata for the hours they work. Rep hours paid for by the union, public sector employee hours paid for by the public sector employer. Can't see the logic in it working any other way.
when I said organisation I meant a public one, as that is the thread title.
Also, you're right about not needing to work for the employer to represent. In my dealings with unions, quite often the rep has come from the union head office.
Why do unions have anyone 'on the inside', taking a wage from an employer when they're not doing hours for said employee?
Union reps are the first point of contact and wouldn't be able to do the job if they didn't work in their department etc and know the people involved. The cases I was dealing with were big ones involving major redundancies that had to be dealt with by experts
The more I type on this, the less I realise I care.
Citation needed. I'd say there's a potential for a conflict of interest of the person who you're relying on to represent your employee interests is getting a wage from the very employer you're going up against.
intrinsically linked to who they work for. it isn't like they're a freelancer sacking off their main job two days a week to do something completely disconnected.
Don't see how this is any different.
Public sector organisations funding a small amount of union representation time on behalf of all relevant employees is essentially just part of the compensation package to employees.
nah let's move to further extremes
Trade Unions, originally set up as defence organizations by the workers themselves, have become capitalist institutions necessary for the stable management of capitalist society. They are managed by professional trade union leaders whose trade union logic renders the movement incapable of fighting for real social change. Workers control of the means of production is a forgotten ideal to most trade union leaders. If it became an imminent possibility they would advise their members against it. Instead they look to more worker participation on management boards - the system of worker participation planned by Mussolini's fascists was more radical that that proposed by the British T.U.C.
"The annual cost to the taxpayer is £36,000,000. It has been pointed out that this is the equivalent of the salary of over 900 nurses or the cost of over 10,000 primary school places".
It is not a case of one or the other, they haven't made 10,000 kids go home from school in order to employ these Union officials. As someone pointed out, it is worth it for decent labour relations, as even if it averts a single major strike, that could save £36m all on its own. It could of course help bring about a strike one could argue...
Trade Union reps would still exist, but their involvement would be paid for by the subsidies from members, rather than the taxpayer. As is the case with any any other membership-based lobby organisation.
I'm not sure your type understand what this is, but it's where two sides come to a mutually beneficial agreement where both stand on vaguely equal footing afterwards.
it hardly seems surprising that they make a contribution to it.
no one seems to be annoyed by such comparisons when its to do with, say, a tax.
Bless his silly head.
The opposite of that.
And vice-versa, obv.
I used to spend days thinking about stuff. Now I just wait for him to make an ill-though-out, moronic or simply hateful comment and it's like `oh yeah! - not that`
More time for Angry Birds!
Being a union rep is very rarely a full time job - it's just a few hours a week or a day or two a week for a named employee. Most of that time is spent dealing with fuck-ups in the HR departments anyway.
And if it's just a few hours, I think most people think that's fine. But this is specifically about the cases where it is a full time job.
vs one person full-time substantive post and one person full-time union representative - what's the difference?
Union hours should be paid for with union paid wages.
Have you given CG your password or something?
By a few hours I meant the could get away with the odd hour here and there. But yes, as Wza says, union hours should be covered by the union.
and the Union can pay the employee's salary during that time. Seems like the fairest comprimise to me.
I suppose employees should go to the bathroom in their own time as well?
Also, publically funding union reps in a place of work is fundamentally unfair to those people who haven't joined a union.
Quite the opposite, their colleagues reap the benefits of the negotiated pay deals etc without supporting them.
if they were independent of the very people they're negotiating with.
So you /could/ argue that the unions are holding the non-unionised workers back in some ways.
can simply not recognise them.
loads of employers are union members who are represented by a union rep who is not also fellow colleague.
* loads of //employees// are union members who are represented by a union rep who is not also fellow colleague
Collective bargaining vs. individual?
I know which one is more likely to get me better pay, conditions, training and job satisfaction.
Independent =/= individual.
Or independent arbitrators. It's the management who, by and large, refuse to sit down until strike action is threatened.
The idea that an employer would go to an independent arbitrator at the request of an individual worker is frankly ludicrous.
I've seen it happen first hand. Admittedly in that case the individual required the services of a legal professional to push things to that point. But it did indeed get pushed to that point at the behest of a single claimant.
Efforts were made to engage a union in the matter. But, for whatever reason, the union (or it's rep) didn't even show the slightest inclination toward representing their member. No idea why. The case was sound and the employer ended up settling in favour of the employee.
It should be said that this was not a unique or solitary case, but the union massively dragged their heels on pushing for a settlement for the wider group (hence the resultant lone effort).
A union (or it's rep) not willing or able to represent their members properly (in cases proven to be legit grievances) seems like a pretty shabby setup to me. Maybe my expectation of the role of a union is at odds with their true purpose.
The lack of collective union action is a double shame in the example I gave, cos the terms of the individual out of court settlement included what was effectively a gagging clause - so the other employees left relying on a poor union showing can't even go it alone with any real degree on confidence by citing this individual case.
I realise ^this is all kinds of tl;dr and gets overly bogged down with a specific example. But it's an attempt at a rebuttal to a bold claim. Hey ho.
It's definitely entirely workable. And, in my opinion, desirable that people who don't want to pay for unions don't have to. This isn't the NHS we're talking about here.
Time which has been granted by the main employer (and which, to my knowledge, they are not legally obliged to give).
Let's avoid the 'legally obliged to give' argument simply by recognising that they are two different jobs.
Union reps can provide a support and representation service for their members* in time paid for by the union, funded by the collective fund paid for by the members for that collective service provision.
*They needn't be colleagues. Probably better if they're not so as to avoid a conflict of interests.
In that scenario, the people who want union reps pay for their union reps.
A much more honest setup.
£36m divided between the relevant union members.
Conflict-hungry power-tripping unrealistic bell-ends with absolutely no empathy for commercial concerns and massive victim complexes.
HOWEVER, if you think their very existence isn't an utterly invaluable safeguard against people being even more shat on in the name of profit then your faith in capitalism is completely irrational.
Sorry a pretty basic (and irrelevant) point but one I needed to get off my chest.
But it has little to do with the (naffly worded) OP question about who ought to fund union reps.
I'd just like to add a few thoughts. I haven't had time to read the whole of the thread (sorry) as I'm dashing out to a gig in a bit (and obviously I don't waste taxpayers money going on here when I'm at work).
Personally, I carry the same workload as my colleagues, but am allowed paid time away from that (albeit I still have to get the work done and meet my targets) for things like training courses, negotiations with management, and representing members through disciplinary/grievance proceedings and the like. Inevitably much of this union work is done in my own time in the evenings and at weekends (I don't expect any sympathy for this: it's my own choice and I see it as my contribution to the Big Society).
In terms of 'full-time' union reps these are very much in the minority and tend to occur in the largest organisations such as the DVLA, HMRC, etc which have thousands of members to represent. It would not be possible to do this adequately on a part time basis. I should also say that the situation is exactly the same in large private sector organisations like Ford, Corus, etc.
Of course, as union reps we'd have a lot less to do if the Govt. wasn't spending so much time attacking our pay, pensions, terms and conditions, etc. Again, it's worth pointing out that driving down pay, employment conditions, etc in the public sector is going to encourage the same process in the private sector, too.
Finally, I get a bit fed up when the press suggest that workers are just in it for number one. Cringeworthy as it is to say, the vast majority of public sector workers are proud to provide the best possible service to the public.
Rant over (TLDR, etc).
Good contribution. And nice to have something from the horses mouth. As someone who does big society stuff (that phrase -urgh!) in my own time, I'd like to think I kinda know where you're coming from on that front. But my thoughts on it are pretty much the same as it was to Si_Badvibes a couple of posts upthread.
also meet the wages of union reps, blimeycharlie has highlighted why they should be funded by the employer: because in the long run, the companies know that it will save them money. They wouldn't do it otherwise.
And without getting too personal, if your experience of unions is so negative, that's probably more indicative of the fact that you've worked for so long in the construction industry - probably the least unionized sector in the whole economy (and co-incidentally, it's also the one of the worst sectors for exploitation, worker's rights, job security and health and safety).
that's been in big private companies, small private companies, and local authorities. I've been in one of the worst sectors for workers, in a range of environments, and never been in a union in and never needed one. Mswza's been in one of the best sectors for workers, and been in unions, and when she needed one they totally failed on every level. Nuff varied experience of unions - not all negative and not all positive... either way, I have nothing against the concept of unions.
That's a response to the second bit. Re: the first bit - as many companies as not  don't think that having a rep on board will be beneficial to them in the long run. So evidence of the unions (as they are today) being an all-round beneficial win-win to companies as well as employees isn't really conclusive.
a) union business that is concerned with trying to collectivise workers rights so thsat it is not just an individual who is relatively powerless in regard to their relations with big powerful businesses who are looking out for their own future with regard to figures
b) people who are not/are not going to 'contribute' (to what god only knows)
c) housing for those that do not contribute to tax revenue
d) living costs to those that do not contribute to tax revenue
e) nhs for people that do not contribute to tax revenue
when instead it could be used to pay for
i) the olympics - hurrah!
ii) a high speed rail link between bham and london - hurrah!
iii) pay for bankers to keep their jobs and their bonuses - hurrah!
iv) various tax and revenue systems that enable the very rich to cheat out of paying their taxes by legal trickery means, yet still enjoy living in the UK
v) mps expenses, the likes of which no ordinary employee could ever get away with
vi) grand exercises in toothless public enquiries with lots of huffing and puffing that convince no one of anything, but wnsure that 'due process is seen to be undergone'
vii) projects for aircraft carriers and the like and any other over expensive projects that 'must be paid for because an agreement was made' .....cos it is far more important for the public to pay for 'commercial contracts to which they never agreed' than it is for them to pay to keep the office of governments contract with a) its employees or b)the 'social contract'
because with a) it unduly favoured its employees (gov employed cooks and cleaners really rake in the cash) so there is no need to pay them
and b) the social contract is not really a contract at all. its a load of conceptual bollocks that is peddled to/by the niave....i.e. IT ISNT REAL (ask any premier)
(with the military and security implications and costs)
why should i pay for mps and ministers that do not act as I would wish?
Why should I pay to support an agricultural policy that i dont support
why should i pay for a state that i feel could do things much better?
why am i not free to do whatever i want to do?
why cant i do whatever i want to do?
why cant i roam any land and sleep whereever I want to?
why do i have to follow rules and regulations?
why cant i be free and just do what I want?
BECAUSE THERE ARE LOTS OF OTHER PEOPLE TOO!!!!
YOU FUCKING TORY MORON!
OTHER PEOPLE WANT A BIT OF STUFF FOUGHT FOR THEM TOO
not everyone has what you have
not everyone else has your job
your charming gf
some people have a shitty job that cannot pay for all they need
some people live in horrible areas they cannot escape from
some people work at a place that is horrible that they have to keep where they are bullied and harried by their employers
some people are very unintelligent, ugly, charmless, poor
stop crowing and sniping at people who are trying to improve the lot of other people who are not as made up as you.
because you are superior and they should serve you.
Personally i think it should be the other way around.....people with the luck of personal atributes should perhaps get less aid? less artificial breaks? although they should be afforded opportunity and nit denied it by social setup
Why should someone who has an iq of 80, who is not good looking and not charming be looked on as such a failure?
Why should their life be one that is always conducted on the bottom rung of society (unless they are wayne rooney :D )
why are they not able to enjoy equal fruits of society if they were honest and co-operative and were prepared to do their share of work?
Because we do NOT live in an egalitarian society...ok we never will, but that does not mean that we need to overemphasise the differences.
people with intelligence charm and wit do not need such massive rewards from society above those without these.
which is why it is so galling to see some people (who you would otherwise like) chuntering on the tory line......they could be so much better than that.
there is a lot i dont understand about the world.
So forgive me for having my little tantrum there.
I just want someone to explain away all the things that i am baffled by.
1) IF the 36 million figure is approx correct then yeah sure why not, because it would be needed to counter the almost certainly larger figure of what the taxpayer pays for public servants helping out big business, to strengthen their own position by gegrading their employees (the rational of gov being, well if we are freinds of big business then overall we might have more here)
This can be seen in policies/legislation that is introduced or others that are blocked, that favour employers in workers terms and conditions and rights.
Since ex ministers/policy makers seem to go to work as consultants for Big companies for megabuck after office (rather than doing work for human rights) then It would seem that they do seem to be remarkably on side with big business already