CBI warns of potential for misuse of union modernisation funds

The CBI has said that the union modernisation fund must have water-tight safeguards to prevent “taxpayers’ money being abused by unscrupulous unions”.

The final proposals for the fund have been set out today by the Department of Trade and Industry.

The fund,is designed to help unions to improve efficiency. It will be worth between £5m and £10m.

Employment relations minister, Gerry Sutcliffe, said the fund was essential to make sure that unions operated in a way that reflected modern working practices.

However, the CBI is concerned that the fund’s resources could be used inappropriately to increase trade union recruitment and bolster campaigns against business.

John Cridland, CBI deputy director-general, said: “Firms are unenthusiastic about this fund and are far from convinced that it represents a wise use of public money.

“Ministers should not forget that the majority of company employees are not represented by a union,” he said.

“Trade union membership has shrunk to just 17% in the private sector and over a third of those in the public sector are not in trade unions.”

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