WE’VE RECENTLY cast a critical eye over some of the establishment trade union leaders and the unions they represent.
Whilst the leaders – and the unions themselves – would class themselves as ‘socialists’, it seems that they have incomes and assets that would be the envy of many fat-cats and PLCs!
For instance, our article Will the UMF Cash Cow Be Axed? (11/06/2010) noted that Unite owns Esher Place in Surrey. It’s used as a conference centre and “includes a suite of rooms for the General Secretary and is worth £100 million.” Unite’s HQ “is reportedly decorated with a £50,000 artwork by Antony Gormley.”
How The Mighty Fall (21/06/2010) looked at Arthur Scargill – once president of the 200,000-strong National Union of Miners. Although retired, he’s still an honorary president of the NUM.
Under NUM rules he’s entitled to concessionary fuel. This’ll come in nice and handy if the Con-Dem government decides to slash winter fuel allowances for the elderly.
However, our article also revealed that “he’s also claiming around £33,000 a year for the rent and running costs of a stunning three-bedroom apartment in London’s exclusive Barbican Centre. He also owns Treelands Cottage in Barnsley, South Yorkshire.”
And in Nice Work If You Can Get It (17/07/2010) we reported that the Tax Payers’ Alliance has produced the 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.”
The Rich List noted that Unite’s Derek Simpson is “on a cool £120,328, Dave Prentis of Unison on £127,436 and the RMT’s Bob Crow on £105,679.” Generous benefits include “pension contributions and payments towards housing to funding chauffeur-driven cars.”
These mega-salaries and benefits mean that these establishment union bosses are on a tidy sum. Indeed, Prison Officers’ Association leader Brian Caton takes home £123,058 (in salary and benefits) a year. It would take the average worker around five years to match this!
With all this money flying around, one would think that those who worked for the establishment unions would be on a reasonable income. Surely their salary would generally reflect the pay rises and bonuses secured by the union for all of its members?
Well, err, actually, no.
Take for instance, the 1,000 folks who work for Unite. This year they’ve been told that they’re not getting a pay rise.
According to the Sun (19/08/2010) these workers are up in arms. They claim that Unite chiefs Tony Woodley and Derek Simpson - on a package of £135,330 and £196,497 respectively - have been instrumental in securing improved pay and conditions this year for British Airways and Fujitsu workers. Yet they are getting nothing.
The Sun quoted an angry union source as saying:
"It is hypocrisy of the highest order for Unite to go chasing after a pay deal for BAA workers while imposing a freeze on their own.
"It is effectively a pay cut. Woodley can afford not to take an increase. What about staff struggling to make ends meet?"
A zero per-cent pay rise is absolutely outrageous! Unite owns property in Surrey, has two national offices in central London and pays its joint General Secretaries over £330,000 a year. Yet, it doesn’t even allow its own staff to keep up with the rate of inflation!
The so-called 'socialist' leaders of the establishment unions are just insulting the memory of those who founded the early labour movement. The likes of William Morris, Keir Hardie and Bob Blatchford, who coined the phrase 'Britain for the British', must be spinning in their graves!
As Jim Royle – played by Ricky Tomlinson – of The Royle Family fame would say: “Socialists – My Arse!”