Whitehall Pilgrims Exposed £36 Million For Civil Service Union Time

Pilgrims are back on the agenda. Guido understands that the long awaited consultation into taxpayer-funded trade union officials will be announced next week. For the first time a clear picture of the extent to which unions fleece the taxpayer in Whitehall alone has been revealed.

248 civil servants have been identified who spend 100% of their paid time on union business. There are at least 6,800 civil servants who do part-time trade union work across the civil service.

And the grand total? The annual cost to the taxpayer is £36,000,000. It has been pointed out that this is the equivalent of the salary of over 900 nurses or the cost of over 10,000 primary school places.

A Whitehall source said:

“Francis Maude demanded that departments collect proper, accurate information on the numbers and costs of taxpayer-funded trade union pilgrims. This information was never available before and, unsurprisingly, initial estimates understated the case. No doubt Labour didn’t want to antagonise their union paymasters by monitoring union activity properly. It’s simply wrong that taxpayers are paying Civil Servants to spend years doing nothing but union activity instead of the jobs they are supposed to do.”

Not for long…

Pilgrim Progress

Pilgrim Progress – Pickles Forces Cash Transparency

From the first of next month it will be a legal requirement for councillors to declare payments from unions. If they lie it will be a criminal offence. Guido has a feeling that you’ll be surprised at the extent to which unions secretly bankroll Labour, even at a local level.

Department of Local Government sources stress the importance of this move to the ongoing fight against Pilgrims – taxpayer-funded trade union officials, who regular readers will remember Guido campaigning against. Given that councils vote on how many of these money wasting staff members there can be, it’s going to be interesting to see who is pulling the strings.

Other developments in the fight include:

“· Francis Maude will shortly be publishing a policy paper proposing to scale back so-called ‘facility time’ in the Civil Service back to private sector levels – rather than gold-plating legal requirements.
· The Department for Communities and Local Government will follow through in due course with guidance to councils, giving them legal assurance and practical help on how they can review and cut back both facility time and the provision of subsidies like free office facilities.
· In local government, these matters should be debated openly in Full Council – with councillors declaring any prejudicial interests, such as receiving payments in kind from unions at election time.”

The Cabinet Office have saying these moves are imminent for months, but Guido gets the impression gears are turning this morning…

Tories to Attack Pilgrims in Party Broadcast

Guido hears that tonight’s local election Tory Party Election Broadcast will have a direct pop at Pilgrims: specifically Ed Miliband’s council who pay some £186,877 for seven full-time taxpayer-funded trade union officials. Guido knows that Frankie Maude has had a tough couple of weeks, but he’d like to gently remind him about that promised consultation that has yet to materialise…

Washington Post Attacks Pilgrims

 

Back in June Guido reported that the campaign to end taxpayer funding of trade union officials had gone global. Phil Gingrey, a Republican congressman from Georgia, was attempting to restrict the activity of Pilgrims, or what they call “release time”. Today’s Washington Post has waded into the growing disquiet at “Union business, on the taxpayers’ dime“:

“…if union activities were paid for by union dues rather than tax dollars, there would be less dues money available for campaign contributions to the grateful politicians who negotiate release-time benefits for the contributing unions.

Release-time provisions have existed for 40 years. What is new is a willingness to call attention to them and contest them, a willingness born of the pressure the recession has put on municipal budgets. Just as a recession has the benefit of making private enterprises more conscious of efficiencies, it makes governments less cavalier about expenditures.”

So the barriers to change are the same on both sides of the pond: greedy politicos.

Pilgrim Consultation Due to Start Imminently Nick Hurd Confirms Wider Scope

Nick Hurd has confirmed that the government consultation into “Pilgrims” is “about to start imminently”. He told a feisty Westminster Hall debate on taxpayer funding of trade unions:

“We will seek to review and rebalance the amount time off for Trade Uion duties… the current level is significantly more that the private sector… The consultation I’ve just described is focussed on the civil service, where my responsibilities as a Minster lie. However other colleagues who have responsibility for these matters in the wider public sector have been asked by the PM to review the position in their sectors.”

A good starting point is why should the taxpayer fund those that want to destroy the Olympics, costing the taxpayer even more money…

Alison the Bank of England Pilgrim

Citing the Data Protection Act, the Bank of England have refused to tell Guido how much they pay Alison, their full-time trade union official. She’s seconded to Unite the Union, though seems to do nothing that an HR title couldn’t cover.

Why they feel the need for a union recruiter in the central bank beggars belief. 

The bank’s website seems very proud of this arrangement. Many would argue she’s a strange choice for their profile of typical employees. Before she became a Pilgrim, Alison tried her hand at being a bank regulator. That went well…

UPDATE: Guido forgot to add that the Bank pay for her to have an assistant as well.

The Real Cost of Peterborough Pilgrims

The unions have often moaned that the investigations into their facility time are unfair. If anything figures put out by the Taxpayers’ Alliance were very conservative. Take Rona Hendry (£43,600 per annum) and Mark Burn (£29,700 per annum) for example, two Pilgrims who seems to spend their time creating ‘social communities’ online for Peterborough Council.

The TPA report into taxpayer funding of trade unions said that Peterborough claimed the cost of Pilgrims was £56,385. Further digging puts the actual true cost at almost 50% higher. In other news Peterborough have rejected the council tax freeze.

Lambeth Labour Put Pilgrim Wrecking Amendment Down

Pilgrims are on the agenda in the People’s Republic of Lambeth tonight. The Red Council has been dodging Pilgrim FoIs for six months, but was finally forced to reveal that their annual bung to the unions costs Lambeth taxpayers over half a million quid a year – ten times that in neighbouring Wandsworth.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Pickles’ Pilgrim Party

Guido is off for beer and sandwiches with Eric Pickles to mark the launch of the growing  Trade Union Reform Campaign. The new group must be doing something right given that they have sent both the Morning Star and the TUC round the bend today.[…]

+ READ MORE +

The Million Pound Pilgrim Full Figures Reveal the True Cost Of Julie Davies

Guido has got hold of the original FoI response regarding Julie Davies, the teaching Pilgrim from earlier. As you can see the information provided was only in regard to 2002 and 2009. In this seven year period, Davies cost the taxpayer £679,198.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Meet Julie Davies the £300,000 Teaching Pilgrim

Pilgrim fans will love Julie Davies, a teacher in Haringey who hasn’t stood in front of a blackboard since the turn of the century. Despite being paid £35,000pa to teach English at Northumberland Park Community School in Haringey, Davies has been working for the NUT five days a week since 2000.[…]

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Labour TURCeys

Early Day Motion 2609 is proof, if ever needed, that Labour MPs will do anything in blind support of the trade unions. In what looks like a sycophantic pat on the back for union activists, TURC member David Morris notes John Healey’s spin about all the wonderful work of Pilgrims, but  Tory adds the pertinent point that if so much is done for free, why should taxpayers pick up the tab for their other activities?[…]

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Exclusive: Liam Fox Returns for Senior Trade Union Role

Guido hears that the Trade Union Reform Campaign will announce this afternoon that Liam Fox has accepted a senior role in the group. Having virtually gone to ground since his resignation, he will be joining ten or so other MPs on their Parliamentary Council.[…]

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Want to Sack Bad Teachers? Well Start With This One

While we are discussing the frankly long overdue proposal to sack rubbish teachers, why don’t we start with blog-favourite Hank Roberts. He’s a geography teacher at Copland School in Brent  Well sort of, that was before he became a “Pilgrim”. A union official, paid for by the taxpayer to do full-time union duties, rather than the front-line role he should be doing.[…]

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Union Funded Turkeys Vote Against Christmas

As predicted, union backed Labour MPs mobilised to defeat Jesse Norman’s 10 Minute Rule Bill against Pilgrims. The usual nonsense was spouted in defence of taxpayer-funded trade union officials. John Healey surfaced after his Shadow Cabinet sacking to claim that Pilgrims were merely volunteering to help their unions.[…]

+ READ MORE +



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