"Is it really true that the Council pays for all these full-time union officials? That's taxpayers' money isn't it?"
I explain that, yes, Bradford Council does spend over £300,000 paying the wages of full-time Union officials - a figure that shocked me and took some prizing out of officers.
"Well I don't pay taxes for that. And it's the same with the Government - they're giving millions to the Unions."
Now that was news to me! So I checked and the young man was right:
The Union Modernisation Fund (UMF) is a grant scheme, launched by the previous government, providing financial assistance to independent trade unions and their federations for a limited period. It was designed to support innovative modernisation projects which contribute to a transformational change in the organisational effectiveness of a trade union. The UMF sought to enhance the ability of trade unions to meet the needs of their members and to make an effective contribution to constructive employment relations and the economy as a whole.
An appalling misuse of public money. And not just a small amount of taxpayers' money either - the Unite union alone received over £4 million from the last government. No wonder that Union was such a generous supporter of Labour!
Update: The TPA published their review of taxpayer funding for trades unions - it's more than I thought: £85m including £67.5m in payments to the 2,493 full time equivalent public sector employees working for trade unions at the taxpayers’ expense in 2009-10.