Funding used to support trade unions is set to be withdrawn in favour of creating more apprenticeship posts at North Lincolnshire Council
A £50,000 council fund used to support trade unions is set to be withdrawn in favour of creating more apprenticeships.
North Lincolnshire Council currently uses the money to pay for posts and an office for union representatives.
But council bosses have announced proposals to stop the funding and use the money to create an additional 10 apprenticeships at the authority instead.
Councillor Liz Redfern, the leader of North Lincolnshire Council, said: "We have an ambitious plan to deliver more apprenticeships for young people locally.
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"By removing taxpayers' money from funding trade union posts, we will be able to create 10 new apprenticeship posts.
"I know many residents struggle to reconcile that taxpayers' money is spent on payments to trade unions, especially when they supply millions of pounds to fund some political parties.
"Unions clearly pay an important role in representing their members.
"However, given that we have historically only subsidised two out of the 10 unions, there is also an issue of fairness.
"We of course remain committed to working with the unions in the interests of their members."
The unions that would be affected if the plans are implemented would be Unison and Unite.
The council is looking for the union staff to fulfil their roles on a voluntary basis, with time off in lieu, or get funding directly from the union itself.
Tony Riley, chairman of the council's 2,000-strong Unison branch, said: "If they wanted to be fair in funding, they should have split it between the 10 unions.
"That would have been a fair and proportional thing to do.
"We would have to find our funding through other sources in the region, I would have thought.
Dave Monaghan, regional officer for Unite union members at the council, said he suspected the authority was following Government directives on funding.
He said: "If they are not careful, they will find what they are doing is tearing apart the whole process for being able to represent employees and members of the council."
The council has so far created 40 apprenticeships.
It had previously earmarked £230,000 per year for the next four years to create a total of 120 placements.
Councillor Steve Swift, Labour Group Secretary, said: "Only North Lincolnshire Conservatives could be so arrogant as to claim that eradicating trade union representation is in the name of fairness.
"To assert that they are committed to working with the unions is next-to-unbelievable."