Victory: Pilgrims Feel the Pain

(Click to Enlarge)

This is the latest PCS poster lamenting the fact full time “pilgrim” civil servants are being made to return to work:

“All reps including the 2 existing full time TUS officers will spend the majority of their time in line jobs with immediate effect… Banned from using DCLG facilities (emails, desks, the building etc) to issue information to members on national issues inlcuding key material on pensions and the Civil Service Management Code.”

Victory!

You can read all Guido’s stories on Pilgrims here.

Pickles: No More Pilgrims

Eric Pickles has long been a strong supporter of Guido’s campaign against Pilgrims. Today he has been fighting the good fight once again:

“For too long in the public sector, trade unions have received taxpayer funding that is poor value for money and inadequately controlled. Reducing such public subsidies to trade unions is a practical way that councils can save money, to keep council tax down and protect frontline services for local residents – including union members themselves. 

Trade union activities and campaigning in local councils should be funded by members’ subscriptions, not bankrolled by the taxpayer. Freedom from state dependency will also mean that trade union bosses will better reflect and respond to the wishes and views of the grassroots members who pay the bill.”

Guido will soon be able to report how the first stages Frankie Maude’s reforms have impacted on taxpayer-funded trade unionists. Watch this space…

Mr and Mrs Strike

All out over at Education. Well 37.5% out, as some members of the civil service PCS union vote to strike over job cuts in the department. According to PA, PCS boss Mark Serwotka is claiming that the department is being used “as an ideological testbed for wider civil service cuts”. It’s interesting that the main PCS representative in the department is one Ruth Serwotka. It may be no relation, but a Mrs Ruth Serwotka, who is apparently a civil servant, has popped up before.

Is this a case of union royalty using their power couple connection as an ideological test-bed for wider civil service strikes?

Halloween House of Union Horrors
Unions Cost Taxpayer £113 Million-a-Year

Brace yourself for the most terrifying statistic you will read this Halloween: trade unions are being subsidised by the taxpayer to the tune of £113 million-a-year. New research by the Taxpayers’ Alliance shows that in 2011-12 £92 million of our money was spent on funding trade union Pilgrims alone.

Not only that, but the report claims that public bodies have even been deducting union subscription fees in the payroll process without charging the unions for the work that requires, in spite of unions themselves claiming the opposite.  

Where is Van Helsing, to plunge a stake straight through the hearts of these taxpayer-funded bloodsuckers once and for all…

Fox Opens New Pilgrims Angle

A significant Pilgrims development from yesterday. Liam Fox suggested that unions are basing their calculations for facility time allocations – how many hours taxpayer funded trade unionists are allowed to spent on union acitivity – on a 40% exaggeration of the real figure:

“The picture may actually be worse than appears at face value since the Facility Time allocations – the delightfully obtuse name for official trade union activities — is based on full departmental headcounts not the union membership within a department. For example,the PCS website claims that there are “more than 55,000 members” within Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HM RC). Yet, elsewhere on their website they explain that the HM RC Facility Time allocation for the current year is being based on the departmental headcount of 75,456. In other words, they base their calculations for their union time – and ultimately public remuneration – on a 40% exaggeration of the actual number of members they actually serve.”

Potentially meaning that the unions are raking in huge amounts of taxpayer cash against the rules. This one has legs…

Local Government Pilgrims Face the Axe
Maude Reforms to Be Recommended Across Local Government

Eric Pickles has just announced that Frankie Maude’s reforms to Whitehall Pilgrims are to be recommended across all local government. Speaking as the first ever Cabinet minister to address the fringe Freedom Zone, Pickles highlighted a poster found in his department as an example of just why taxpayers’ money shouldn’t be going to unions:

“I don’t mind the idea, I like the tumble of politics. I even like idea of trade unions – my family were all trade unionists. But what they did, is they paid for it themselves.”

Fox joined in the fight, with a rousing bashing of the principle that the taxpayer should ever pick up the tab for a public sector worker not to do their job.The clock is ticking. It is the Pilgrims’ eleventh hour…

UPDATE:

Unions’ Pilgrims Spin Unravels, Again

Last the night the BBC website ran what was basically a press release from Mark Serwotka’s PCS union damning Francis Maude’s decision to wield the axe over Pilgrims:

“An official pointed to government figures which, he said, showed the subsidy raises money. For every £1 spent on full-time trade union officials negotiating with employers, resolving grievances and dealing with health and safety issues, the official said, between £3 and £9 was generated for the wider economy.”

It turns out these “government figures” are from 2007, under Gordon’s Labour government. What a surprise they backed taxpayer cash being spent on unions.

Guido hears that the Beeb are getting it in the neck from the Cabinet Office for failing to check this out. Union spin unravels once again…

Victory: Full Time Whitehall Pilgrims Defeated
Guido Campaign Success as Frankie Wields the Axe

It is eighteen months since Guido launched his campaign against Pilgrims – taxpayer-funded trade union officials – and tonight victory of sorts can be be declared. During his speech to Tory party conference on Monday, Frankie Maude will announce a series of radical new measures which mean the Whitehall versions of Jane Pilgrim, Hank Roberts and Julie Davies will no longer be able to rip off the taxpayer for the unions’ benefit. Civil servants will now be banned from spending more than half their time on trade union work, with a new maximum of 0.1% of a departmental budget can now be spent on union representation. Paid time off for union activities has also been scrapped meaning we will no longer be picking up the tab for PCS conferences. Any special circumstances will have to be signed off at Ministerial level and details published online. The unions are furious, but there’s not much they can do to fight transparency.

Credit should be given to the sterling work done by the Trade Union Reform Campaign in helping to expose Pilgrims. TURC chairman Aidan Burley tells Guido:

“These welcome reforms are long over-due, and it speaks volumes that a Labour government bankrolled by the Unions never got round to even ensuring that Government Departments kept basic records of time employees spent on working for trade unions.”

While TURC CEO Mark Clarke adds:

“It is great news that Francis Maude is calling time on the wasteful practice of Pilgrims in central government. But this will still leave thousands of Pilgrims working in schools, hospitals and local government. That means nurses not nursing and teachers not teaching. The Maude reforms need to be extended across the whole public sector so we end this abuse once and for all.”

A very pleasing start, that needs to be enforced across the public sector..

The entire story of how Guido and co beat the Pilgrims, ranging from the outing of Jane Pilgrim to parties with Pickles and Frankie Maude’s consultation, can be seen here.

UPDATE: The Taxpayers’ Alliance data was at the heart of this fight, they’ve also responded to the news:

“This move to reduce facility time in Whitehall will save taxpayers millions of pounds, which will be most welcome at a time when hard-pressed families across the UK are having to tighten their belts.However, similar action is also going to be required elsewhere in the public sector. Only then will the days of nurses and council staff working full-time for the union instead of doing the job for which they are paid be consigned to history.”

Trade Union Reform Campaign Consultation Submission

The Trade Union Reform Campaign have outlined the opposition to taxpayer funding of trade unions for the Cabinet Office consultation that ends today.

Although the inquiry had a very narrow remit of looking into publicly funded union activity specifically […]

Cabinet Office Hint at Whitehall Pilgrim Movements

Pilgrims are back on the agenda for the last day of the consultation into taxpayer funding for Whitehall civil servants who are actually working on behalf on unions. The TUC mouthpiece put up on the Daily Politics bleated on about […]

Five to Midnight for Pilgrims

It’s crunch time for Pilgrims – today is the last day of the consultation into taxpayer funded trade union officials. Employment lawyer Francis Hoar has written on behalf of the TPA attacking public sector employers for breaking industrial relations law […]

Scotland Splashes £14 Million on Pilgrims

FOI data released by the Scottish Tories has revealed that Scotland has spent a staggering £14 million on ‘pilgrims‘ – taxpayer funded trade union officials – in the last five years. Scottish councils are paying the wages of […]



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