Public sector union chiefs 'enjoy life of well-paid luxury'

Six-figure pay and perks packages are enjoyed by some 38 union bosses, the TaxPayers' Alliance claimed today.

They included union leaders threatening to oppose likely public sector job losses and pension cuts with strike action, the campaign group said.

It branded figures like Unison's Dave Prentis, Unite's Derek Simpson and the RMT's

Bob Crow as "hypocritical" given their lives of "well-paid


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Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "It is small wonder that they aren't worried about the tax burden or the national debt when they are so well-off, but it is ordinary, over-stretched taxpayers who will suffer if they get their way."

The TaxPayers' Alliance said it had researched its "Trade Union Rich List" on figures from the annual report of the certification officer, David Cockburn, who oversees union finances.

The remuneration packages cited represented a combined figure for salary and benefits, including pension contributions, for 2008/9.

Top of the list was Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, who earned 856,007 according to the TaxPayers' Alliance.

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But the campaign group drew particular attention to those union leaders representing public sector workers.

It said that Mr Prentis was on 127,436, Mr Simpson was on 120,328 and Mr Crow was on 105,679.

Christine Blower, of the National Union of Teachers, was said to have earned 124,483, the Fire Brigades Union's Matt Wrack 115,804, and the Public and Commercial Services Union's Mark Serwotka 111,112.

Altogether, 38 leaders were listed as having packages worth more than 100,000.

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A Unison spokeswoman said that Mr Prentis's salary was actually 92,688.

The figure was agreed by the union's national executive committee and Mr Prentis was "worth every penny".

"Our members know what he earns and he was just re-elected as general secretary so they have confidence in him," she said.

A spokesman for the TUC turned the tables on the TaxPayers' Alliance (TPA), describing its arrangements as "secretive" and accusing it of standing up for the rich.

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"This is political knockabout from the TaxPayers' Alliance. Not a single penny of any union general secretary's pay comes from the taxpayer," the spokesman said.

"Unlike the TPA, unions publish full accounts and are democratic institutions under the control of their members."

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