Trade union staff in Devon and Cornwall cost the public purse more than £1 million last year, according to figures published today by the TaxPayers' Alliance.
The campaign group found there were the equivalent of 44 full-time union staff working in the public sector in the region at a cost of £1.22 million.
Research by the alliance showed the bill in Devon, including council, health and fire service staff, was almost £721,000 for the equivalent of 22 full-time union jobs. It was part of the £113 million paid out nationally in what were effectively union "subsidies", according to the alliance.
"It is simply wrong that taxpayers are seeing their money used to pay thousands of trade union activists who organise strikes which disrupt the services they rely on and pay for handsomely," said Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the alliance.
But unions in the regions hit back saying union representation has a "positive effect". Nigel Costley, secretary of the South West TUC, said: "If you took them away, you would rely more and more on lawyers and the courts."