Letters, Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

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Amazed by union salary payments

I WAS amazed by what I read on December 8, regarding the seven union officials being paid by our council to the value of £196,000 (that is £28,000 per official).

Since when did council pay for full-time union officials? This money could be well spent in helping areas that are and will be affected by austerity measures. It beggars belief that the council runs its business hand in hand with unions and it also goes to show how unions still have input into the Labour Party, regardless of what is said in the papers.

I also agree the unions should use their own membership fees for their salaries. Where do the union membership fees go if they don’t go to paying union officials? The leaders of the trade unions are being paid enormous salaries and benefits and then have the gumption to say that the Coalition Government has got it wrong on pensions in the public sector. I wonder when they retire what their pension will be.

I don’t have any faith in this Labour council, as it goes to prove if this motion was not brought up at the meeting we would be none the wiser. So if they are paying seven full-time union officals, what else has not been transparent, and why should I along with other taxpayers pay union officials’ salaries? We pay the council tax to help make Sunderland a better place to live and bring up our family in.

What I also could not believe was Paul Watson (leader), when asked the question regarding how much money the council had saved, his words were it would be too time-consuming. He also said he was working with the unions to determine who was on strike/sick/and who was due into work. Any leader of any organisation should know what is happening with his company. He had plenty of notice regarding when the strike was going to take place. Again it goes to show you why Sunderland is in the Unibond League rather than the Premership of local councils.

George Gibson, Sunderland

Charity success

ONCE again the generosity and support of people here in Sunderland came to the fore when the volunteer fund-raisers of the Sunderland branch of the BHF held three days of fund-raising in Sunderland Royal Hospital – two days in the Chester Wing and one day in the main concourse of the hospital.

The total raised was a phenomenal £512.78, for which we are most grateful.

The charity is currently running its Mending Broken Hearts campaign, which aims to raise £50million pounds over the next five years to fund research into literally mending a broken heart.

Heart disease is still the UK’s biggest killer, but great strides have been made in both treatment and research, and funds raised here in Sunderland stay in the North and help in this fight.

On behalf of all the members of the branch and the charity I would like to wish you all a Very Happy Christmas and a Healthy New Year and thank you all once again for your generosity and support.

Michael Roper, Branch Secretary

Strange claims

IT was rather unfortunate that the Government announced funding for the new Wear bridge on the same day David Huntley claimed “The Tory Government really do not care about the North East of England and even more so about Sunderland” (Letters, December 14).

David Huntley also forgets the millions put into Nissan along with the establishment of the new Enterprise Zone which includes Sunderland. All these among other schemes announced in the North East.

He also goes off on all sorts of tangents that are just total confusion. He claims Sunderland Council were going to sell the Vaux site to Tesco. Very strange, as Tesco owned the site. Tesco left the council flat-footed and bought the site from the brewery owners. The council, with this Government’s help, then bought it from Tesco.

As for “the Government being more concerned about building supermarkets on ever corner”. How? The supermarket owners buy land then apply for planning consent from the council not the Government.

Mr Huntley is correct in saying a new arena should be built in Sunderland. One or two headline concerts at the Stadium are good, but look at the line-ups in Newcastle and Gateshead week on week.

Coun Alan Wright, Conservative, St Chad’s Ward

Thanks for help

MAY I express my most sincere and grateful thanks to the gentleman who helped me when I had a bad fall on Monday, December 5, just outside the Barnes Hotel.

I am sorry I didn’t ask your name, but I hope you know how much I appreciate your very quick thinking and concern for me.

I did go to hospital, but I am now well on the way to recovery, with a rather black and blue eye.

Mrs M. Smith, Willow Green, Sunderland