Tories 'want civil service unions ban'

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The Independent Online
THE trade unions believe the Government has taken the first step towards deunionising the civil service, writes Paul Routledge.

A secret Cabinet Office investigation for Deputy Prime Minister Michael Heseltine has discovered that in more than half of the ministries, fewer than 50 per cent of staff now belong to a union. The survey also discloses that time off for union duties costs more than pounds 16m each year.

John Sheldon, general secretary of the National Union of Civil and Public Servants, said: "We will be fighting against derecognition. This is an issue that will unite all the civil service trade unions."

Union membership is as low as 17 per cent in the Foreign Office, rising to 81 per cent in the Inland Revenue. A Cabinet Office spokeswoman said the survey was "a purely factual document". But a union leader said: "They are looking to derecognise, I am sure."