Most Councils, including most Conservative Councils, pay salaries to Town Hall staff to work full time for their trade unions. There is no statutory requirement to do so. one can understand Labour Councils doing it. For them is it payback to the unions who make donations to fund their election campaigns. But why do we put up with it? (Often provided unions with rent free accomodation for their offices.) Perhaps sometimes senior Council officers are in the habit of appeasing the unions and believe it helps secure a quiet life.
But there doesn’t seem to be much control from the Council over how such people spend their time. For instance, what is to stop Council taxpayer funded union reps campaigning full time for the Labour Party at election time? What is to stop those of them working at Conservative Councils actively seeking to sabotage reforms that the Council that pays their wages is seeking to introduce?
On a more mundane level I was chatting to a woman who used to work in Human Resources for a Council (not mine) which switched from Labour to Tory control and got rid of its union reps. She told me it made her work much easier as whenever the Council challenged staff for persistent absenteeism claiming sickness the unions would always automatically contest. They would intervene on behalf of their member regardless of how outrageous the absenteeism was. Procedures would be strung out in every way possible. The departure of the union reps enabled the Council to get the numbers abusing the system by phoning in sick for months on end under control.