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…

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

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…

Thursday, March 15, 2012

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.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

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…

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

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.

Friday, February 10, 2012

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.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

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.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

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?


Seen Elsewhere

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Stuart Broad Right, Peston Broadly Wrong | Ryan Bourne
The 38 Seats in England Yet to Select a Tory Candidate | ConHome
Labour and Green Ecofascism | Matthew Walsh
Burnham Shows Why Labour Can’t Be Trusted | Speccie
Why Online Voting is a Crap Idea | Ballot Box
Time We Showed Super Rich Some Love | Alice Thomson
We Need True Popular Capitalism | Maurice Saatchi
Labour’s Winning Hand | Sebastian Shakespeare
We Defend Labour’s Record | John Hutton and Alan Milburn
100 Tories to Rebel on Plain Packs | Telegraph


Rising Stars
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Alan Milburn says Labour’s scaremongering campaign for an unreformed NHS will not win election…

“It would be a fatal mistake, in my view, for Labour to go into this election looking as though it is the party that would better resource the National Health Service but not necessarily put its foot to the floor when it comes to reforming. Look, reforms are not easy, but the Labour Party is not a conservative party. It should be about moving things forward not preserving them in aspic. You have got a pale imitation actually of the 1992 general election campaign, and maybe it will have the same outcome. I don’t know.”


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