The taxpayer funds a Union to preach to nobodyPosted on August 8, 2011
I’m back from holiday, so it’s a return to service as usual.
The row over taxpayer-funded Trade Unions has grown steadily over the last few months, particularly as the unions have greedily clung onto their subsidies for non-front line activities that often stray into political activism while other areas face spending reductions.
A great example of taxpayers’ money being funnelled into unions only to be wasted has come to my attention in the form of the Creative Toolkit website launched by BECTU, the media and entertainment union. According to BECTU’s website the Creative Toolkit was funded by the Union Modernisation Fund, one of the two main routes by which millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money is poured into the unions.
The site is intended to campaign against unpaid internships and volunteer posts – some would say that if you want to work for free to beef up your CV you should be allowed to, while BECTU argue that it is fundamentally wrong to let anyone give labour for free, ever. We can leave that debate aside, though, and look at whether the project has delivered value for money to the taxpayers that funded it.
I don’t know how much the project and the website cost, though it’s a fairly shiny site and appears to be run by at least one BECTU member of staff. Given the profligacy of publicly funded digital projects, it’s safe to say it didn’t come cheap.
In return for our money, what impact has it had? Well, the site launched on the 10th of August, and so far it has….drumroll…58 signed up users. Including me, as well as several BECTU staff and members of their NEC.
So far there have been a mighty 7 posts made on their Community forum – of which three are from Sharon Elliott, a BECTU staffer, one is from Benetta Adams, a BECTU NEC member, and only three are from other users.
If a company had funded this, they would be furious – undoubtedly thousands of pounds spent on a campaigning website that has engaged 50 people. When will BECTU be asked to justify this taxpayer-funded failure and to give the money back? For that matter, when will taxpayer funding of trade unions cease outright?