Wednesday, August 8, 2012

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 dozens of employees who spend 100% of their time on trade union work, with many more working part-time. Almost £3 million of taxpayers’ money was spent on the £27,000 per year wages of Scottish pilgrims in 2011 alone.

If only Francis Maude were a Scot…

Friday, July 20, 2012

Spain Says Adios to 2,000 Union Pilgrims
Government to Sack 6,000 More Nationally

The crusade against Pilgrims – taxpayer funded trade union officials – is an international struggle, last year Guido reported moves in Washington to clamp down on this waste of Uncle Sam’s money. This week the Spanish government has announced a further crack down on “Liberados Sindicales ” whom El Mundo describes as “public sector employees who in many cases do little or no work because they are authorised to spend time on trade union matters“. Sounds familiar…

So far in the capital Madrid 2,000 union parasites have been removed from the public sector, nationally the Spanish government wants to remove another 6,000 Liberados / Pilgrims who are paid for by their severely under pressure taxpayers, cutting the number by two-thirds. Spain desperately needs to cut government waste to save itself from bankruptcy… 

Meanwhile back home the Taxpayers’ Alliance has released the annual trade union rich list today, revealing that 36 union bosses earn over £100,000 a year:

Guido welcomes them into the 1%…

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

TUC Spin Shredded
Union Does Not Defend National Organiser’s ‘Misspeak’

Guido catching out TUC National Organiser Carl Roper and his misleading Pilgrim spinning has certainly upset the union cheerleaders today. Roper has gone AWOL, and as of yet the TUC have refused to comment.* It seems they unwilling to defend him…

Others are not staying so quiet though. The TaxPayers’ Alliance’s Matthew Sinclair confirms that Roper was wrong:

“The TUC undermine their own credibility with this shoddy and dishonest attack on our research. The careful and systematic TaxPayers’ Alliance investigation of trade union subsidies is an invaluable source providing a detailed picture of how unions are receiving subsidies across the public sector at the expense of taxpayers and frontline services. However because of organised attempts by the unions to frustrate that research, and the poor record keeping of many public bodies, we have always made it clear that the overall estimate that research provides will be much lower than the true figure. The new figures in the consultation document support that and suggest the true total could be much higher.”

Chairman of the Trade Union Reform Campaign Aidan Burley emails Guido to say:

“Just four days into the consultation and Carl Roper and his Union cronies are already reverting to misleading the public with false statistics – £36m is just the cost of Whitehall Pilgrims, not across the whole the public sector. TURC estimates the true cost nationally to be well over £100m, especially when free office rents and free collection of union dues are taken into account. Mr Roper should try to explain why his comrades need to immorally divert all this public money to fund their left-wing propaganda – which should be spent on nurses and teachers – rather than mislead the public with dodgy statistics that deliberately try to minimise the extent of their taxpayer-funded largess.”

 It’s going to be a very long consultation at this rate…

*Guido would happily have given the TUC a chance to respond. He is fascinated to see how they might spin this one.

TUC in a Spin Over Threatened Pilgrims

Carl Roper is sanctioned by the TUC to spin for Pilgrims – taxpayer-funded trade union officials. The unions are fully aware of the damage that losing this state subsidy would do to their coffers and their ability to buy influence, so are fighting the Cabinet Office consultation launched last week very hard. So hard that they are just making things up:

Either Carl is an idiot, or he is being deliberately misleading. The Cabinet Office £36m figure is only for taxpayer funded union activity in Whitehall, whereas the TPA figure he mentions is in regard to union activity funded by the state right across the country. Channel Four’s FactCheck – so quickly turned to by the TUC when it agrees with them – believe the TPA figure to be an underestimate. It’s based on FOI data released by councils. Many refused. Carl ran away when Guido picked him up on his dodgy spinning.

No doubt he will happily set the record straight when he sees the error of his ways…

Friday, July 13, 2012

Tax Funded Union Research Backs Tax Funding of Unions

On the day that the consultation into union-leeches is launched, Unison have put out a report about facilities time. In a complete shock the union-funded research has found that unions taking money off  the taxpayer can only be a good thing. Needless to say it’s full of holes, but nice of them to show their hand…

Dave Prentis’ cronies are arguing that union bods in the workplace save money. This is fundamentally dishonest as it only takes into account one side of the picture. For every full-time pilgrim teacher, nurse or back-room pen-pusher that takes time off, the taxpayer has to pick up the tab twice by paying someone else to cover for them. For full-time pilgrims, the state ends up paying double the staffing costs.

This is not factored in to Unison’s hearsay case-study puff piece.

The consultation does not seek to end union officials being given time off, but the real question that needs to be addressed is why they should be paid out of public money when they are not on the job? Union members pay membership fees, the cost of pilgrims should be met from that.

It’s very simple.

UPDATE: It seems it is pilgrim day today. Cabinet Office sources are making all sorts of new information available this afternoon:

  • In one Whitehall department a staggering 2,660 Civil Servants were doing trade union work during their paid hours, including 563 trade union representatives working on Health & Safety, and another 387 on Skills and Learning.
  • A prison service official who worked 100% on trade union work was “promoted twice whilst in their trade union role, up to Grade 7 level” which can confer a salary of up to £61,038.
  • In contrast another 100% trade union representative in a different department earned less than £20,000.
  • In one department TU officials make up 4% of the overall workforce or 1 in 25 people.
  • One department admitted that “no formal allocations [had been] made or central records kept” of the amount of time spent by representatives on some union activity, while another confessed that “no central monitoring takes place”.
  • Only one department reported that they asked each representative “to apply to, and get the sign off from, the line manager in advance for the time they require” to take off – insisting that “reasonable notice (usually min 10 days)” must be given.
  • Several departments reported that they held “no central record” of the numbers of representatives working on Health & Safety or Skills & Learning.

Overall there are a staggering 10,000 civil servants doing trade union work during paid hours, that’s 1 in 40 of the total civil service workforce. Unbelievable… 

UPDATE II:

Read: Pilgrim Consultation Document

“We are seeking to review and rebalance the amount of paid time off provided to undertake trade union duties, and to review the level, frequency and cost of providing paid time off for trade union activities. This consultation covers all types of trade union representatives but does not seek to change the statutory basis for these duties and activities. We also wish to review the use of  facilities by trade union representatives e.g. telephones, photocopying and use of office  accommodation, to ensure it is appropriate and represents value for money for the taxpayer.”

Rebalance? Repayment of the £36m unions siphoned from Whitehall budgets this year would be more appropriate. Either way it looks like the full time Pilgrims are doomed…

+ + + Cabinet Office Pilgrim Consultation Launches Now + + +

Mad Frankie Maude’s long-awaited consultation into the absurd degree in which the taxpayer funds union agitators in Whitehall is set to go live any minute. Developing…

UPDATE: For background on Guido’s 18-month campaign to get to this stage, see  a round up here.

UPDATE II: The taxpayer funded union’s lobbyists are preparing a barrage of submissions.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

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…

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Pilgrim Progress

Thursday, June 28, 2012

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…


Seen Elsewhere

What We Learned From the Referendum | FT
Scottish Crisis Moves South | Nick Wood
English Democrats Accidentally Celebrate Yes Victory | Pink News
Union In Its Current Form is Dead | Janan Ganesh
Labour Could Be Split in Two | Sun
Ashcroft Poll: Why Scotland Voted No | Buzzfeed
Boris: Change Barnett Formula | Sun
Cameron is Back | Dan Hodges
What Happens Now | James Kirkup
Cairo of the North | Quentin Letts
Labour are the Biggest Losers | Phil Collins


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Diane Abbott on the Daily Politics:

“Labour MPs will unite behind Ed Miliband, once we find out what our policies are.”



It was only a tiny tiny collision.


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