Robert Halfon MP has written an important pamphlet today for Demos about the historic and future relationship between the Conservative Party and the Trade Union movement. In essence he argues for a more positive attitude of Conservatives towards trade unions and a recognition that the trade union leadership are not always representative of either their constituent trade unions or their memberships.
We have been struck by how many ordinary trade unionists are appalled by the abuses of their leadership. They are the ones who tell us the stories of individuals who rip off the taxpayer through abusing the facility time arrangements. They are the ones who tell us the stories of the lavish salaries and expense accounts. It is those trade unionists who we must stand up for.
There are also moderate trade unions who are let down by the trade union movement. Take the “Employees Representatives” trade union of London Bus drivers who have been attacked and reviled by Unite just for refusing to recognize the closed shop and who now find that they are disadvantaged by the privileged position enjoyed by Unite’s taxpayer funded resources. This is unfair and needs to stop.
Or take Clarke Carlisle, the head of the Professional Footballers’ Association Union, which is affiliated to the TUC, who denounced on Question Time the practice of full time Pilgrims in the NHS.
These are the true moderates. The hard left leadership of the TUC and some of their affiliated unions should wake up and realize that their union members are taxpayers too. They don’t want their tax money wasted on shop stewards who are paid by the taxpayer and then use that position to leapfrog up the union movement because they have the time to attend all the union meeting and hobnob with the powers that be – all at the taxpayers expense. Meanwhile the union dues which are supposed to pay for representation gets wasted on posh new Union offices for fat cat union leaders salaries and large expense accounts, while the tax payer picks up the day to day costs of running the trade unions.
The Labour Party has positioned itself as the supporters of the Union Barons. That leaves space for the Conservative Party to position itself as the supporter of the ordinary union member.
You can read Rob Halfon’s article in The Telegraph