Government denies union funding is for recruitment

The Government has strongly denied that increased funding to trade unions
will be used to carry out recruitment drives.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) told Personnel Today that the
allegations were unfounded and the Government would be giving money to the
unions to help them modernise.

A proposed trade union development fund will begin in 2005 and will cost the
taxpayer between £5m and £10m.

The DTI said the money was necessary for unions to keep up with the pace of
change in the workplace and would be awarded on a competitive basis along
similar lines to the Government’s £500m partnership fund for business.

One of the main uses of the grants would be training for union reps in
subjects such as workplace dialogue, corporate strategy, reviews of union
structures and corporate accounting.

However, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) wants the Government to
impose conditions to ensure the money is spent on what it should be.

Susan Anderson, director of HR policy at the CBI, said: "A partnership
is fine, but it must not be money to help unions take a confrontational
attitude, nor should it be a subsidy to unions that are losing members."

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