Friday, March 1, 2013

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…

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

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?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

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…

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

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…

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

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…

Friday, October 5, 2012

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.”

Friday, September 7, 2012

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 within Whitehall, the hope is that a trickle down effect will spread from central government across the public sector:

Where it is expected that full-time union activity is set to be banned, TURC are calling for full outlawing of the ridiculous practice:

“In the consultation document it is suggested that the Government end the practice of employing full time Trade Union Representatives. However, this implies that the Government might be content to see people spending 50% of their time on paid union duties.

Recently Rachel Reeves MP (Lab, Leeds West), asked what the practical difference was between one person spending all their time on Union work and two people spending 50% of their time. The cost to the  taxpayer is the same and we risk going round in circles. Abolition represents best value for the taxpayer and avoids the risk of the time they take creeping up again once the issue is out of the headlines. We maintain that abolition removes any ambiguity and polling data suggests 86% of the public share our view.”

Despite all the voodoo economics and spin from the TUC this is a moral issue. Why should the taxpayer pick up the tab to pay for public sector unions to lobby for more taxpayers’ money?

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 how it was all great value for money yet could not answer why, if these Pilgrims are so effective, the rate of public sector strikes is even higher. Digging around it seems that the TUC’s Paul Novak does not really believe what he told viewers today. Speaking in 2011 he said:

“In terms of the added value. Unions do not exist to help Britain’s workplaces to run more smoothly or to make them more productive…. Our core reason for being is to collectively and individually represent our members, their families and their communities  in the workplace and beyond.”

No doubt the TUC’s submission to the consultation won’t let the cat out of the bag quite so spectacularly.

Good signals are coming out of the Cabinet Office. Guido’s source in 70 Whitehall tells him:

“Frankie enjoyed reading Guido this morning. The meeting to discuss the consultation results is in the diary for the start of next week. We look forward to reading the responses but continue to wonder how the uncontrolled spending of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ hard-earned money can possibly be justified.”

The end is nigh…

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 by delegating responsibilities to full time trade union officials. It’s pretty damning stuff:

Over to you Frankie…

UPDATE: If you can’t see the document above click here.


Seen Elsewhere

Dave Will Never Be Forgiven if Ed Becomes PM | Trevor Kavanagh
What is Dave’s Big Message? | Tim Montgomerie
Voting UKIP Only Helps Ed | Boris
Only Tory-UKIP Deal Can Stop Labour Win | Dan Hannan
Tories Need to Be Party of Ideas | Laura Perrins
Main Parties Can Only Dream of UKIP’s Grassroots | Matthew Walsh
The Short Comings of Brooks Newmark MP | John Sargeant
Why Reckless Lost Faith in Cameron | Spectator
Tory Minister Brooks Newmark Quits Over Sex Scandal | Mirror
Sajid Javid: Britain’s First Asian PM? | Mail
Boris Audit: the Man Who Would Be King | New Statesman


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cynic says:

Can anyone help me? I went on holiday a week ago and returned to find someone has pulled out the stake and Gordon Brown is back and acting as Prime Minister. What did I miss? Has there been a snap election?


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