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Survey reveals cost of union reps

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Local authorities have been criticised by a Conservative MP who claims they are squandering scarce resources by paying the salaries of trades union officials.

Reading West MP Alok Sharma said councils spend more than £10m a year paying union staff to work for them.

Mr Sharma said his survey of more than 300 local authorities found that more than one-third had contributed to wages of full-time union officials. He calculated the total salary bill over the three-year period for the full-time union representatives was £35m.

Mr Sharma told the Daily Telegraph his survey revealed that 319 out of 429 councils employed 132 full-time union officials in at least one of the past three years.

He said his £35m figure did not include the cost of employing someone else to do the job vacated by the union reps, while a further £2m went on the cost of extra council resources.

Mr Sharma said: “It is right that trade union members working for a council are represented by their union. However, this cannot be at the cost of hard-working council taxpayers up and down the country.”

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