17/07/2010 - Nice Work if you can get it……

PERHAPS like many other British workers at the present time you are out of a job and doing your best to make ends meet?  Or maybe you are still in employment but have been hit with a pay freeze by your employer?  Or you have had the insult of being given a derisory “wage rise” that does not look so good when you go to do the weekly shopping, only to find that the prices have risen by several percentage points above the “increase” that you have received?

Then as an ordinary person working to keep a roof over your head and food on the table (never mind even thinking of such treats as a holiday or a new TV to watch the summer’s sporting action on) it must come as something of a shock to learn that the leaders of the establishment unions are pocketing sums of money that look totally out of proportion to what they should be.

The TaxPayers’ Alliance has produced a most interesting research note entitled Trade Union Rich List which shows that no less than 38 trade union general secretaries and chief executives received remunerations in excess of £100,000 in 2008-2009.

Amongst those benefiting from the largesse of their unions is Unite’s Derek Simpson on a cool £120,328, Dave Prentis of Unison on £127,436 and the RMT’s Bob Crow on £105,679. Needless to say, nothing is straightforward in the murky world of the establishment unions’ pay arrangements and so they like to hide behind the fig-leaf of their salary being “only” X while conveniently omitting to mention the various benefits that they also receive ranging from pension contributions and payments towards housing to funding chauffeur-driven cars which bring the actual total remuneration to a much healthier Y.


Take for example the Prison Officers’ Association leader Brian Caton. His salary is £63,275 pa. On top of that he receives £59,783 in benefits taking his total to a very comfy £123,058. With the average wage in the UK being around £25,000 pa it would take the average earner around 5 years to match what he grosses in one year.


As mentioned above, Bob Crow is on a salary of £79,564 pa plus benefits of a further £26,115 taking his total to £105,679. Mr Crow was questioned last year by The Daily Telegraph about the 8 per cent increase to his pay and benefits that he received in 2008 and said to the paper: “I don’t really know if my pay rise was inflation busting”. Does this statement perhaps demonstrate a rather poor grasp of facts and figures from the leader of one of the biggest unions in the land?