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. Guess who doesn’t run that council.

The Tories have put down a  motion against the £317,517 a year that is spent on 9.7 full time equivalent Pilgrims representing the triumvirate of Unison, GMB, and Unite. Another  £141,411 is spent to support 2.6 full time equivalent Pilgrims  from the “teaching” unions – principally the NUT and NASUWT. Lambeth Labour have gone into full bulldozer mode. Have a look at the wrecking amendment to Motion 7 here.  They amend:

“Council is grateful that these costs have now been disclosed. However,members are appalled that in a time of budget reductions and austerity in the public sector Lambeth Council is paying £503,548 a year to subsidise trade union officials.”

To:

“Council is grateful that these costs have now been disclosed. However, members recognise that in a time of budget reductions and austerity in the public sector paying trade union officials is a cost effective way to deal with industrial relations in the workplace. Massive cuts, too far too fast, forced on Lambeth by the government have resulted in unprecedented staff changes and restructurings where unions play an important role in scrutinising job plans, making amendments and supporting individual members through life changing decisions. They also perform excellent work on health and safety and basic skills training at minimal cost to council.”

Brazen.

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.

In a pre-emptive move the TUC rushed yet another one of their poorly researched spin memos declaring all of the great things that taxpayer-funded trade  union officials apparently do. It will come as no surprise that the Taxpayers’ Alliance were able to shred it within hours.

Next time the TUC want to be taken seriously, they shouldn’t get the pseudo-academic/Morning Star writer Gregor Gall to do their research. He relied on a discredited BIS review that was conducted under the union-funded Labour government. No wonder it was pro-brother…

After campaigning for nearly a year now on the issue of Pilgrims, Guido likes what has been trailed so far from Pickles’ planned speech:

“The public want their council tax frozen and their bins emptied every week. They don’t want it spent on trade unions’ political campaigning. It’s not right that the public’s money is covertly being used to bankroll union activists. They are diverting resources away from frontline services, waging class war with public funds. At a time when every council needs to help pay off Labour’s deficit, it’s time to cut these pilgrims and axe these non-jobs on the rates. Unions should not be given free office facilities and the free service of union dues being collected by government employers.”

TURC has attracted the support of both Liam Fox and Aidan Burley, amongst others. Anyone know what the dress code is?

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. This isn’t just her salary (£35,000pa), but the cost of paying someone else to cover for her too:

Given that Davies was also paid to do trade union activity for three days a week between 1997 and 2000, and five days a week between 2000 and 2002, the £300,000 figure quoted in the Standard tonight is way short of the real picture. Guido has been doing the real maths based on what she cost the taxpayer between 2002-09:

 Sept ’97 to April ’00: 3/5 x (£679,198/7) x 2.5 years = £145,542

April ’00 to March ’02: (£679,198/7) x 2 years = £194,057

Add that to the figures given by the council and you get a cost of £1,018,797 up until March 2009. Add to that the £70,000 that Davies has been paid for 2010 and 2011, plus the cost of covering for her in that period and that figure hits £1,158,797. Over half-a-million pounds wasted on one teacher not teaching…

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. Instead of teaching she seems to spend most of her time agitating against the government and leaving comments on Lynne Featherstone’s blog. Guido particularly enjoyed the quote Davies gave the Standard:

“I’m an ordinary teacher. Most of my time’s spent sitting next to teachers who are being sacked or disciplined.” She denied being a “pilgrim” – a union official paid from the public purse. “I work really hard. I’m paid £35,000 a year by Haringey, and help when someone’s in trouble. I don’t work for the union. My substantive position is English teacher. If I stopped doing this [union] job I could return tomorrow.”

That’s the plan Julie, that’s the plan…

UPDATE: An eagle-eyed co-conspiritor points out that Davies is not registered as an “ordinary teacher” on her school’s website. Not only is she being paid £35,000pa, but the same amount of money will have to be spent on another teacher to cover for her. The NUT should pay for this organiser. 

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 […]

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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 […]

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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”.[…]

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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 […]

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