Union modernisation fund pays out £3m

The government has given trade unions £3m in the first pay-out from the controversial union modernisation fund.

Employers were aghast when the fund was originally announced, with the CBI saying it was “fundamentally opposed” to cash going to “an individual lobby group”.

However, the employers group dropped its opposition after it said it was “broadly satisfied” that unions would be stopped from using the money to increase membership.

The fund is designed to support innovation and development in the trade unions but is expressly forbidden from paying out to unions who want to improve the day-to-day work of unions or carry out recruitment drives.

Gerry Sutcliffe, employment relations minister, said the fund was designed to help unions continue to meet the needs of their members by helping them to keep pace with changes in the workplace.

“This fund helps to ensure that unions remain an integral part of the UK economy making an effective contribution to constructive employment relations,” he said. “Good unions work with employers to help their members manage any difficulties they may have with their working lives.

“Unions – just like businesses – need targeted support to keep pace with the rapidly changing economy and employment landscape.”

Projects awarded funding included a proposed Migrant Workers Support unit by the Transport and General  Workers Union, training for senior staff in management skills and several online ventures.

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