June 9th, 2011

The War Begins

After the government threw down the gauntlet to the unions yesterday, regarding their taxpayer funded staff, the bruvvers have kicked off in an appropriately pig-headed style. The GMB’s eloquent and inspiring Brian Strutton frothed last night:

“All trade union representatives have a statutory right to time off for trade union duties, which includes providing representation in grievances and disciplinary matters where individuals have a legal right to representation.”

Granted, but the taxpayer shouldn’t be shortchanged by such activity. The unions should pick up the cost of time lost and under no circumstances should it be full-time. 

“Bob Neill is either ignorant of the realities of trade union work or he is deliberately pedalling an anti-union line which is totally unjustified. I would suspect that Mr Neill’s action amounts to unlawful victimisation of trade union representatives and I’ll be taking legal advice on this.”

Go ahead and waste your money, the legal advice will point out that what Neill said was protected by parliamentary privilege, and believe it not, most people would rather see their hard-earned money being spent on front-line services instead of lining the union pockets. It’s war…


  1. 1
    Billy Bowden is the greatest umpire ever ! says:

    Bring it on!

  2. 2
    Postlethwaite says:

    Go for the throat big boy

  3. 3
    Jane Pig Grim says:

    Work ?? Wossat ?

  4. 4
    Lady Virginia Droit de Seigneur says:

    I doubt whether Cameron has the spine for this.

  5. 5
    Billy Bowden is the greatest umpire ever ! says:

    Looney left tag ?

  6. 6
    Postlethwaite says:

    Getting some traction. Real soon now

  7. 7
    A*Star says:

    If it’s war, I suspect most of the casualties will only suffer paper cuts.

  8. 8
    Winnie says:

    Words, words, words.
    What we need is: “action this day”

  9. 9
    Anonymous says:

    Looks like it’s going to be a bloody one that hits the economy & thus all of us .

  10. 10
    Zippy and george says:


  11. 11
    Red Ed's Union bosses says:

    We can’t afford to pay our union reps, we spend all our members’ money on our own salaries and perks and on funding the Liebour party.

    ‘There’s no money left’ to pay anyone else.

  12. 12
    Anonymous says:

    About time too.

  13. 13
    leejun says:

    I think Brian Strutton is a pretty cool guy. eh thinks it’s 1970s East Germany and doesnt afraid of anything.

  14. 14
    Bruce says:

    Mr Strutton seems as sharp as a beachball.

  15. 15
    Steve Miliband says:

    They’ll put their top man Ed onto this

  16. 16
    Andrew Efiong says:

    Note the defensive and uppity tone.

    You’ve flushed them out here, got them on the run.

  17. 17
    Ampers says:

    This will no doubt escalate but, this time, with very little public sympathy, of at all.

    If I were terminally ill, I’d go down to the East End, buy a gun or three, and unlimited bullets, and make a list of politicians and trade unions, and go visit them to say hello.

  18. 18
    White Van Man says:

    What drivel you come up with Guido…..

    ” most people would rather see their hard-earned money being spent on front-line services instead of lining the union pockets. It’s war…”

    Speaking of wars,please let me know the cost in human and monetary terms of the UK’s half baked involvement in Libya !!!

  19. 19
    Bob Neill says:

    Dear Unions,

    Blow me.


    Bob (the clever one, not the thick pie munching commie one)

  20. 20
    Southern Softy says:

    So I imagine that’s why you are holding on to your heavily subsidised council houses.

  21. 21
    Thats News says:

    All trade union representatives have a statutory right to time off for trade union duties…

    Yes, they have. But surely not ALL of their work time, every working day, every week, every month, every year of their employment?

    The problem with Pilgrims is that, by not working for years, they have rendered themselves unemployable, as they haven’t practiced in years.

    Jane Pilgrim could not nurse anyone, now as she hasn’t nursed for years. Perhaps she thinks she looks good in uniform.

  22. 22
    Southern Softy says:

    Plenty of sympathy from the Grauniad and the bbc no doubt.

  23. 23
    Thats News says:

    Bugger. Formatting error.

  24. 24
    hava nagila says:

    Given the current state of the law, I think you might be somewhat unwise to post that on a public forum.

    Sure, I know you’re not serious and are merely voicing exasperation and frustration but remember how Plod responded to the so-called “Robin Hood Airport Bomb Threat”.

  25. 25
    Titford Hat says:

    Pedalling? On yer bike, Strutton!

  26. 26
    BOB coCROWch says:

    Wos rong wiv that ??

  27. 27
    Southern Softy says:

    She’d look really cool in a shroud.

  28. 28
    Rown Williams says:

    As John Bunyan says in his famous Hymn:

    No foes shall stay his might; though he with giants fight,
    He will make good his right to be a pilgrim.

  29. 29
    weybridgeman says:

    About time too – apart from unelected archbishops telling the govenment to play nice or they’ll take away the moral ball, the TUC should hang its head in shame at such a sham.

  30. 30
    Lard Presclott of Bulimia, Bog Seats, Beams,Bellies,Banjos,Punches, Croquet, Pies, Jags 'n' Shags says:

    I’m dispensing advice on The Daily Politics prog today on croquet techniques and on staff relations.

  31. 31
    Mark Pack says:

    Guido, You seem to have gone a bit quiet on Chris Huhne.

    Don`t say i did not warn.

    This will teach you right-wing nut jobs to try and disrupt Chris Huhnes important work on saving the planet.

    If you want to live in greener, Cleaner , Safer country then you should leave Chris alone as your smears are fooling no-one.

  32. 32
    Afghanistan Banana Stand says:

    If this all kicks off, it’ll be interesting.

    Union leaders getting all frothy; zero public sympathy and where would Red’s stance on this be?

  33. 33
    Mike Litorus says:

    And shortly after that an industrial grade animal mincing machine.

  34. 34
    hava nagila says:

    Give back the extra chromosome and stop shitting up the comments thread with your open italics.

  35. 35
    Doggie Fashion says:

    Seriously Guido, keep identifying the Pilgrims. Give the useless MPs something to work with.

  36. 36
    will says:

    meanwhile on the BBC they have the archbishop of caterbury as thier lead story.

    Buried below is the real news to hard working families that both nissan and BMW are going to invest in new car production. these are both multimillion investment which will safeguard jobs and ensure our manufacturing base producing quality cars.

    I despare at the BBC it is so biased

  37. 37
    Mike Litorus says:

    The only smears come from the huhnes y-fronts once he realised Guido was on to him.

  38. 38
    EdMiliband says:

    I am completely divorthed from the Unionth. I am my own man. I have my own blank theet of paper. I do not need theirth. I got mine from Viking.

  39. 39
    sockpuppet #4 says:

    They were talking about nissan yesterday.

  40. 40
    Billy Bowden is the greatest umpire ever ! says:

    as much i hate the BBC , that was true they covered in buissness spot.

  41. 41
    Backwoodsman says:

    I would suspect that Mr Neill’s action amounts to unlawful victimisation of trade union representatives and I’ll be taking legal advice on this.”

    This will teach you right-wing nut jobs to try and disrupt Chris Huhnes important work on saving the planet#

    Reality bypass R-Us.

  42. 42
    Steve Miliband says:

    With almost parity with the euro, UK manufacturing costs are probably in line with Europe. A few years ago a guy in the rag trade said the got their stuff manufactured in the East, then moved to Eastern Europe and guessed that eventually they would get stuff made in the UK as costs equalised

  43. 43
    lola says:

    In never ceases to amaze me that fascist scrounging – well I was going to say ‘lefties’, but they aren’t, they’re gangsters – never really understand what ‘fuck off’ means.

  44. 44
    Rowan Williams says:

    “and believe it not, most people would rather see their hard-earned money being spent on front-line services instead of lining the banker’s pockets,by way of bonuses It’s a fucking disgrace by the conservative led coalition”

    Well said Guido

  45. 45
    Afghanistan Banana Stand says:

    Tonight I shall turn on my patio heaters.
    Then later I shall burn as many copies of the Grauniad as I can get my hands on.

  46. 46
    Selohesra says:

    Sadly you are probably right – even though it would be a hugely popular measure and force the opposition into the unenviable position of trying to defend the indefensible.

  47. 47
    lola says:

    Weeellll, I heard their coverage, and no credit whatsoever was given to the Coalition debt reduction policies (including letting Sterling depreciate, which may or may be a Good Thing) for the inward investment. They sounded almost surprised that given the ‘cuts’ that anyone was thinking of investing in UK manufacturing…

  48. 48
    Billy Bowden is the greatest umpire ever ! says:

    Right Lads and Ladies, Grab your pitchforks and march on Labour/union HQ.

  49. 49
    Titford Hat says:

    Concrete overcoat.

  50. 50
    Southern Softy says:

    Sure you don’t mean relations with staff.
    You’ll always punch below your weight.

  51. 51

    Mark Pack “..likes chocolate. Lots of it.”

    Good luck on saving the planet, and I’m sure the DDT and metalaxyl residues in the cocoa bean will power your elbow, Mark!

  52. 52
    Chris Hoon says:

    Under my legislation, the air we breathe in this Country will be cleaner and safer as giant windmills will not only generate cheap energy but will also blow polluted air towards Iceland and other non-EU nations.

    Please set up a Direct Debit to pay HM Treasury £ 500 per year per household.

    Off for a spin in the Toyota Carina now. …..or shall I get the chauffeur to ferry me around ??

    Gangway !! Pompous, self-serving LimpDim coming through !!!!

  53. 53
    Anonymous says:

    I fail to see what the difference is with MPs having second jobs and being paid to lobby for interested groups. this is more of a concern to me and many others. Also the underhanded way the government, Huhne, let energy companies take the blame for price rises when about 20 per cent of our bills are for green taxes, ie subsidizing private companies to build wind farms and solar panels. T his is a deceitful government practice and,once more show s the lack of integrity MPs have.

  54. 54
    Billy Bowden is the greatest umpire ever ! says:

    Actully , the spokesman for Nissan did say that it was also down to competivness (coalition lowered biz tax), But the fact they covered pissed on 2 Eds line that the country was doomed.

  55. 55
    Rumple_tweezer says:
  56. 56
    Archbishop Rowan Williams says:

    Trade union FoC (Father of the Chapel) are the equivalent to being a Priest. Therefore the taxpayer should be proud to pay for their trade union business. Giving to the Unions is the same as giving to the CoE.

  57. 57
    Drop a Daisy cutter on the BBC says:

    People forget that in 1997 the economy of this Country was in a very health state, it was the one eyes shirt lifter from Fife and his Nazi bum chum that trashed it.

    Liebore must NEVER be allowed power in England, which is why as much as I hate Cameron he must be allowed to put the boundary changes through that will cost Liebore possibly 30+ seats and hopefully with the Tories in power the jock mongs might finally be persuaded to fuck off once and for all, that will cost Liebore 50+ seats, a loss of 80 seats will mean that Liebore will cease to exist as a political force outside of the northern shit holes like Liverpool, Newcastle etc.

  58. 58
    South of the M4 says:

    It’s war – and it needs to be. Employment law states that union reps are volunteers entitled to full pay whilst ‘volunteering’ their services. Weak management has seen these duties morph into full time roles over the years.
    Difficult to correct what has become custom and practice. You need nerve and balls of steel. And it will take legislation. Anyone know of any coalition politicians with balls of steel?

  59. 59
    The gay actress says:

    Hear hear.

  60. 60
    Lii dem fiddler says:

    I am more concerned about MPs having second jobs and lobbying for interest groups for money. This should stop and be part of McCleggs cleaning up politics.

  61. 61
    Lard Presclott of Bulimia, Bog Seats, Beams,Bellies,Banjos,Punches, Croquet, Pies, Jags 'n' Shags says:

    The paunch is mightier than the punch.

  62. 62
    Southern Softy says:


  63. 63
    Lii dem fiddler says:

    I am also concerned about the 20per cent of my energy bill disguised going on green taxes for wind farms to be built. Underhand practice by government to get energy companies to take the blame for their underhanded tax. What is the point of Offgem? Another quango that should be scrapped to save the public purse.

  64. 64
    Anonymous says:

    The comment that Trades Unions should offset any costs of lost time to employers should be accompanied by a proposal that MPs should be paid by their parties rather than the taxpayer. I know that a good few would support that notion.

  65. 65
    Afghanistan Banana Stand says:

    Hmmm. Let me think….



  66. 66
    Archbishop Rowan Williams says:

    Bless you my son, for that heart felt adoration of where I should go.

  67. 67
    Anonymous says:

    Placing ALL the blame at the feet of Labour is such an idiotic thing to do. The rot set in years ago. Yes, the economy was in half decent shape in 1997 but only because it had plummeted a few years earlier. Both Labour and Tories have been taxing parties for the last 30 years. Let’s not forget the Tories put VAT on petrol, doubled the price of VAT (and have increased it again). Labour we equally bad for stealth and not-so-stealth taxes. Both parties having been spending our fucking money as if it was a game of internet poker. Oh, and as for the jock mongs you refer to, don’t be such a fucking ungrateful bastard.

  68. 68
    Hugh G. Rection says:

    The eradication of Pilgrims is your most worthy cause yet Guido.

  69. 69
    Hugh G. Rection says:

    or even with balls

  70. 70
    will says:

    The other issue is that manty manufaturers who outsourced to the far east such as Stieff (teddy Bears) have stated that the quality was not as good and quality control was lacking so move production back to europe.

    Also whilst the ipod and iphone are assembled in china most of the added value comes form elsewhere, china only puts it together it does not manufacture many of the parts

  71. 71
    Cynosarges says:

    A “brother” in the Scargill model – Chooses the worst possible target to attack and declares a Somme offensive.

    It appears that union officials only rise to the top if they demonstrate a total inability to learn from mistakes, thank God!

  72. 72
    I detest Cameron says:


  73. 73
    I detest Cameron says:

    + 1

  74. 74
    Thems with Balls says:

    Cabinet ministers Pickles, Alexander and Osborne come to mind. This is why Dave needs Laws back in the cabinet.

  75. 75
    Maximus says:

    …I would suspect that Mr Neill’s action amounts to unlawful victimisation of trade union representatives…


  76. 76
    Anonymous says:

    What about tax avoidance, if people like Mr Green, As*croft, non doms, tax exiles (who mainly give money to Tories) pay their taxes, rest of us can pay less.

    For people who pretend not to understand, if these people pay their taxes then there will be money to give tax cuts or pay debt off earlier, etc. This cost UK over £70 billion, if its collected, in a bit over 10 years UK can pay all its debt and be debt free.

  77. 77
    Anonymous says:

    I normally thought when you do volunteer work it’s unpaid? If they are doing volunteer Union work and want to get paid then the Union should pay

  78. 78
    Mon Dieu says:

    And the Canterbury CofE mob in frocks.

  79. 79
    No Telly tax says:

    the rest can pay less tax Oh do fuck off its a drop in the ocean

  80. 80
    Tacitus says:

    This would mean the Labour Party going into terminal decline as they will not only be in thrall to the Unions but their fiscal ineptitude would make them all insolvent within a year.
    I know that a good few would support this.

  81. 81
    Clarence says:

    It’s not all bad news.

    If I break my arm at work, visit A&E and a Pilgrim sees me, she won’t have a clue how to treat me but at least she can give me advice on how to sue my employer for millions.

    Happy days. Tax-payers’ money well spent, I say.

    Okay, so I am self-employed and I’ll end up suing myself but it is the principle that counts, innit?

  82. 82
    Bongo Billy says:

    In a pot-hole.

  83. 83
    Maximus says:

    +1. But who knows what will happen should Alex the Salmon succeed in landing his independence referendum — it could even slice the faux Conservatives off from the real conservatives.

  84. 84
    Tacitus says:

    Well we all thought that Vince “able” would not be up to stating the obvious and putting it to the unions, yet he did. Perhaps Cameron and his ilk can discover that they have some courage.

  85. 85
    Penfold says:

    Typical luddite unionist, someone else always has to pay, just like the Union Modernisation Fund, which saw taxpayers monies go these bastards.

    Its time unions and their present leadership were sidelined and treated as the scum that they are.

    If reps want to rep then the bloody unions can pick up the salary tab.


  86. 86
    David Cameron says:

    On behalf of my party I would like to thank the Labour Party, the unions and the left in general for generously providing a bogeyman for my government. Your incompetence, belligerence and bourgeois radicalism has done wonders for our support, as of course it did throughout the 1980s. Without you working so hard to make the alternative look so unpalatable, our voters might be more inclined to question our raising of VAT, our policies on crime, our unnecessary cutting of frontline police and soldiers, our slowness at cutting fat and waste elsewhere and our craven kow-towing to the EU. Instead they are waking up in a cold sweat with the thought of Ed Balls running the country. So thank you again, left wingers, we will be toasting you in 2015 when we ditch our LibDem bitc… sorry, partners, and take full control of the country.

  87. 87
    lola says:

    Well, there’s a lot of stealing…

  88. 88
    David Cameron says:

    Special thanks to Ed Miliband for his performance at PMQs yesterday, where he not only missed an open goal but boot the ball backwards the entire length of the pitch and through his own keeper’s legs.

  89. 89
    Thats News says:

    I fail to see what the difference is

    Then your failure is your problem, your fault.

  90. 90
    Thats News says:

    Hava Nagila?

    “No, thanks, the last one tasted of shit.”

    I fixed my problem, now you fix yours.

  91. 91
    Thats News says:

    FoC? = FFS!

  92. 92
    South of the M4 says:

    Ther real added value for i-stuff comes from selling in a market that appears to accept prices significantly above every other country. Britain is a high margin market.

  93. 93
    Famines and Firing Squads says:

    My observation after over 30 years in the workplace is that by and large, Union reps are lazy useless bastards. There are some noble exceptions but that’s my experience.

  94. 94
    Errr..... says:

    If you buy a 4KW Solar Panel (costs around 13k) then you will earn 43.5p per KWh. The power companies are legally obliged to pay it to you. That 43.5p per KWh rate is guarenteed for the next 25 years. If the panels are in a good position/orientation you can earn back your 13k in about 6 years. Try getting that rate of return anywhere else. Plus, you get to use all the power you generate without charge. This is one of the reasons your bills are rising.

  95. 95
    Anonymous says:

    You mean advice on how to shag your employee on public time, when both of you are public servants paid out the public purse and not get prosecuted for misconduct in public office. Or advice on how to excuse your gluttony which you financed out of the taxpayer by pretending you had an eating disorder. Or just generally getting away with being total useless at your job?

  96. 96
    Left Wing Shitemonger says:

    Bring it on Biatches…we are ready for you right wing t*ssers.

  97. 97
    barnsley blogger says:

    dear all Barnsley south yorks, home of the one and only Fat Eric has 6 full time council paid UNISON officials at a cost of approx £150,000!!!! Beat that!

  98. 98
    Anonymous says:

    I’ve got no problem with union reps that work to keep a good balance between management and the workforce. That can be a key role esepcially in places where there are lots of low paid staff and jobsworth managment.

    Too often though these reps merge into political adctivists who don’t care about the staff but are more interested in causing anger and division

  99. 99
    Bill d'Sarse says:

    Indeed. They have been truly spooked.

  100. 100
    Anonymous says:


  101. 101
    Ampers says:

    Is it illegal to say hello nowadays?

  102. 102
    that's a new word.. says:

    FoC is one better or worse than bogof?

  103. 103
    Handycock, No1 Trougher in Parliament says:

    I am, always have been, and always will be a Union Man. I used to be a Union Convener in my only proper job, over forty years ago. The taxpayer should fund the Unions as should the public sector. My political credentials on this and the NHS and other matters are impeccable.


  104. 104
    Vic Sinhaler says:

    Biased Broadcasting Huhnes!

  105. 105
    Vic Sinhaler says:
  106. 106
    Glenda says:

    More like a ‘me’ man, judging from the article. Talk about a clear demonstration of someone with no values whatsoever.

  107. 107
    Archbishop Rumpole says:

    Your values are admirable Brother. Boaz.

  108. 108
    vested interest says:

    It was good to see that Lord Prescot’s recovery from anorexia is continuing

  109. 109
    Andrew Lansley says:

    You’ve got a nerve asking me to resign, Handycock; you pervert. spy and teen fondler.

  110. 110
    Pickled Wizard says:

    “Bob Neill is either ignorant of the realities of trade union work or he is deliberately pedalling an anti-union line which is totally unjustified. I would suspect that Mr Neill’s action amounts to unlawful victimisation of trade union representatives and I’ll be taking legal advice on this.”

    I suspect the legal advice will involve pictures and crayons…

  111. 111
    Dianne Abbot says:

    I would not have eated the ,/i> with my rice n peas if I had known it turned off the italics. Sorry and vote Labour.

  112. 112
    Anonymous says:


    If you are a shop steward, or equivalent trade union official, of a trade union that is recognised and independent, you are entitled to reasonable paid time off to:
    carry out your duties as an official
    receive training relevant to carrying out those duties

    Reasonable time off

    You are entitled to take a reasonable amount of time off work during your normal working hours. Your normal working hours are the hours your employment contract requires you to spend working.
    There is no legal definition of ‘reasonable time off’. It is important for trade union members, officials and learning representatives, and employers, to be reasonable and flexible in asking for and handling these requests for time off.
    You need to take into account factors such as the:
    nature of your employer’s business
    need to do your work
    needs of your line manager and your co-workers
    importance of health and safety at work
    amount of time off you have already taken for trade union duties and activities
    If you need to take time off for trade union duties or activities, you should provide your employer with as much notice as possible, giving details of your reason for taking time off and how much time off is required.
    The Acas Code of Practice recommends that trade unions and individual employers have formal agreements about time off for trade union activities.

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