Post union leader's pounds 72,570 tops pay scale: Salaries of the most senior union officials are about to be made public. Barrie Clement investigates

THE postal workers' leader Alan Johnson has emerged at the top of an earnings league for union general secretaries.

Mr Johnson, head of the 175,000- strong Union of Communication Workers, receives a salary of pounds 52,666, but his whole package is worth pounds 72,570 a year, including a particularly generous pension contribution by his employers of pounds 18,433. That compares with average pay of pounds 14,000 a year for Royal Mail delivery staff.

The UCW is one of two large unions to have submitted information on the earnings of its senior officials to the Government's certification officer under last year's Trade Union Reform and Employment Rights Act. The other union to have responded is the GPMU print union, which has disclosed the pay and benefits of Tony Dubbins, general secretary, at pounds 41,891.

In terms of basic pay, however, the nurses' leader Christine Hancock will probably emerge on top when all the figures are collated. Ms Hancock, leader of the 300,000- strong Royal College of Nursing, receives pounds 70,584 a year, beating Doug McAvoy, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, whose salary is set at pounds 67,000 including a London allowance. Mr McAvoy, however, receives an employer's pension contribution of approximately pounds 4,000.

Unions will have to reveal the information five months after their financial year closes, which in most cases expires in June.

Apart from remuneration, some union leaders have been accused of drawing 'over-generous' expenses. For instance, Mr McAvoy's aides deny suggestions in tabloid newspapers that he has a luxurious lifestyle financed by the union. He is allowed second class train fare, an upper limit of pounds 45 a night for hotel costs, pounds 4.50 for lunch and pounds 13 for dinner, NUT officials say.

The public service union Unison, created by the merger between Nalgo, Nupe and the health union Cohse, is trying to work out a new salary scale that could give some senior officials, such as Rodney Bickerstaffe and Tom Sawyer, double figure percentage increases.

Mr Bickerstaffe, ex-leader of Nupe, and Mr Sawyer, who was his deputy, were the poor relations in terms of pay. Alan Jinkinson, general secretary of Unison and ex- leader of Nalgo, is understood to be on a basic of pounds 60,000 - which is related to the pay of a chief executive of a large local authority.

In terms of the ratio of basic salary to union membership, Bill Morris, leader of the Transport and General, probably comes out 'best value', at pounds 48,000 with a responsibility for 950,000 largely blue-collar workers. The worst in such terms is thought to be Arthur Scargill, whose earnings are estimated to be between pounds 50,000 and pounds 67,500, but who now has only about 8,000 members in the National Union of Mineworkers.

Garfield Davies, the recently re- elected leader of the shopworkers' union, Usdaw, receives a salary to which none of his members could aspire. Mr Davies draws pounds 50,844 a year, while his members' wages are among the lowest in Britain.

Conversely, the pay of Chris Darke, the pounds 46,350-a-year leader of BALPA, the pilots' association, is comprehensively beaten by the average salary among his members, which stands at about pounds 85,000.

Among the other 'big hitters' in terms of pay are Roger Lyons, pounds 58,300-a-year leader of Manufacturing Science Finance; Bill Brett, general secretary of the civil service union IPMS, on pounds 56,000; and Simon Petch, of the Society of Telecom Engineers, who earns a basic pounds 54,000.

Some trade unionists, seen as moderate by the Government, can enhance their life-styles through appointment to quangos. Bill Jordan, pounds 35,000-a-year president of the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union, for instance, retains seats on various training bodies and is a governor of the BBC.

Most of the big unions provide chauffeur-driven cars for their general secretaries. Mr Morris has the use of a top-of-the-range Rover, while John Edmonds, pounds 52,000-a- year head of the GMB, the second biggest general union, is driven in a Ford Granada. Some union leaders can also command fees from newspapers for signed articles and in the past some have even acted as consultants to private companies.

A few senior officials depart with a golden handshake. Clive Jenkins, for instance, left Manufacturing Science Finance with more than pounds 200,000.

(Photographs omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future