Friday, 3 September 2010

Lies, Damned Lies & The Taxpayers' Alliance


On Sunday (5th Sep) the right-wing, Conservative-party linked Tax Payers' Alliance, will push further on their assault of the UK trade union movement with a claim that trade union facility time in the public waste is contributing to the 'waste' that has led to the government's public sector spending deficit.

Whilst we know that the vital work of trade unions is pivotal in driving up standards, reducing costs, saving lives etc., the TPA continue to get a favourable press, not least in the right-wing media

This bunch of malcontents and zealots do not represent the interests of UK taxpayers (and certainly not the 6 million+ trade union member tax payers) but have already set out their anti-trade union stall with a recent 'research note' attacking the pay of general secretaries:

Whilst the salary and benefits of some general secretaries are indefensible the TPA are engaging in a targeted, strategic campaign that trade unions will need to rebut in a systematic, rigorous manner.

Plenty of research exists which definitively establishes the 'business case' for trade unionism, the difficulty will be turning this into something that the public will listen to in the same way they do the distortion and dissembling of the TPA.

I'd welcome feedback on how trade unions can demonstrate their workplace 'value' and also how this can be translated into a message that will appeal to the public.




ShopSteward85 said...

Didn't know anything about this lot, and not surprised they are linked to the bastard tories!

Best thing to do here is monitor workplace accident/death stats at unionised workplaces against nonunionised.

This always demonstrates the value of trade unionism.

As for the public, surely even the non-union friendly ones will understand the principle of a death saved?

Keep up the good work.

Jenni Ashton said...

Hi Ian,

I was sent the list of general secretary's pay. Immediately I noticed that they didn't comment on Mark Sewotka only taking an average PCS members pay - but of course that isn't the story they want to promote.

As a steward I can think of hundreds of occasions where my branch has saved the employer money. The best one being in spotting the likelihood of expensive mistakes being made by inexperienced new managers like overstaffing on a shift rota or buying the wrong kit.

I feel that we are going to be facing an uphill battle over the next few years although I agree that we need to get the public onboard in understanding how the cuts will affect them.


Ian Manborde said...

Thanks Rob,

The HSE I know will be supportive of this position also in terms of defending itself from a Tory view which peversely suggests that, as the TU movement, and to a more limited extent, the HSE, have managed to reduce workplace illness/accidents/deaths we should now fundamentally dismantly H&S safeguards and limit even further the role of the HSE.

Keep an eye on the H&S review being undertaken by Lord Young. He was, amongst other things, an Employment minister under Thatcher and has basically been appointed to carry on where he left off.

Keep in touch.


Ian Manborde said...

Thanks Jenni,

The so called 'research note' has now been published and is the usual mish-mash of outright bias and flawed methodology in an attempt to create a justfified attack on trade union reps.

The major thing that struck me was, even if the figures they given for the 'cost' of trade union reps to the taxpayer were true, how much of their own time do trade union representatives contribute to carrying out their role and propping up their respective employers?

Thanks again for your contribution.


ToadBoy said...

If the TPA's lies weren't so laughable I could take them seriously. Sadly, the public will believe their crap and the trade union movement gets another nail in the coffin.

I wait the response from our 'leaders'.

Jas said...


Just read the piece of crap written by the tax alliance - who do these people think they are?

If ever one of these *****s had ever had to face some of the ***t union members had to face day after day you bet your life they'd want a bloody good union rep to call on!

It all does worry me though becuase the general public will buy into this and think that union reps are just lazy gits, some probably do already.

The only answer is to get out onto the streets and tell people who we are and what we do.


Val said...


Who exactly are the Tax Payers' Alliance - these bastards haven't asked me to represent their biased, crude attacks on the public sector. And when do they address the fact the public sector workers and trade unionists pay tax also!