Friday, June 24, 2011

YouGov: 51% Want Ban On Taxpayer Funded Union Staff

A Taxpayers’ Alliance and YouGov poll shows more than half the country would like to see an end to the controversial practice of public sector union officials being paid while they do union activity instead of working. As the unions don’t have to pay their staff and national organisers, they can spend the money raised through subs on political activity, like funding the Labour Party.

The TPA reckon that at least £67 million is being diverted from frontline services into the pockets of union officials. As Guido has been showing you over the last few months, these officials are up to no good. If the unions want staff they should pay for them out of union subs. Guido isn’t surprised the public are rejecting this absurd loophole.

UPDATE: Given this insight into the public mood, perhaps the Tories own taxpayer funded operation, the Parliamentary Resources Unit, might like to retract their amber warning to MPs over David Morris’ EDM calling for a ban:

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Manchester’s Half a Million Pilgrim Fund

52% of children in Manchester live in poverty, making it the third poorest place to live in Britain. Manchester City Council are cutting front-line services in an act of political defiance – rather than saving money on the bureaucracy. They are cutting 2,000 jobs in order to support their quarter of a million pound CEO and other fat cats. However FoI’s have  revealed a huge rump that could be cut in order to protect frontline services – starting with  the half a million spent every year paying staff not to work, but instead to do union activities. 

Last year £449,088.00 was spent on union pilgrims, taxpayer money being used to represent the interests of people who would rather see Britain go the way of Greece than push their pen for an extra year. Funny you don’t read about that on the Unison placards…

Monday, June 13, 2011

Judge Brands “Pilgrim” a Liar

Jane Brooke had worked for the Land Registry for over three decades before she was sacked for gross-misconduct. Back in 2008, while she was spending 85% of her time as a union pilgrim - being paid to do union work by the taxpayer, Jane began legal proceeding against the Weymouth Land Registry claiming she had repetitive strain injury and could not use a computer. Little did she know that they began to secretly record her to see if she was telling the truth. She was caught working out, swimming and running. When she was sacked she claimed “union victimisation” and took it to a tribunal…

However the judiciary has seen sense for once and branded this pilgrim “inconstant and dishonest” and upheld the fact that “serious misconduct [justified] summary dismissal.” Judge Coles said it “was not cricket”. Brooke says she will continue to work for the PCS. Not on our shilling anymore though…

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The War Begins

After the government threw down the gauntlet to the unions yesterday, regarding their taxpayer funded staff, the bruvvers have kicked off in an appropriately pig-headed style. The GMB’s eloquent and inspiring Brian Strutton frothed last night:

“All trade union representatives have a statutory right to time off for trade union duties, which includes providing representation in grievances and disciplinary matters where individuals have a legal right to representation.”

Granted, but the taxpayer shouldn’t be shortchanged by such activity. The unions should pick up the cost of time lost and under no circumstances should it be full-time. 

“Bob Neill is either ignorant of the realities of trade union work or he is deliberately pedalling an anti-union line which is totally unjustified. I would suspect that Mr Neill’s action amounts to unlawful victimisation of trade union representatives and I’ll be taking legal advice on this.”

Go ahead and waste your money, the legal advice will point out that what Neill said was protected by parliamentary privilege, and believe it not, most people would rather see their hard-earned money being spent on front-line services instead of lining the union pockets. It’s war…

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pickles v The Pilgrims
Government Calls For Review in Taxpayer Funding of Unions

Bad news for the unions. It seems that Guido’s campaign against taxpayer-funded Pilgrims is getting some traction.  In a reply to a written question from Dominic Raab, the Department for Local Government have called on local councils to review the practice of allowing public sector workers to work full-time on union activity, while we pick up the tab. DCLG Minister Bob Neil said:

“I am aware of the public and parliamentary concern expressed in recent weeks over trade union officials paid for from the public purse. The coalition Government’s transparency agenda will help ensure that cash payments to trade unions and the titles of staff posts in local government are open to public scrutiny. At a time when all local authorities need to make sensible savings to help pay off the budget deficit, councillors will rightly wish to review the merits of (full-time) union officials funded by the taxpayer and the provision of the office facilities to trade unions.”

Every year  millions of pounds of taxpayers money goes into the union coffers instead of paying for frontline services. The unions can then spend their subs on political activity, like donating to the Labour Party, instead of staffing. It’s time this whole crooked money washing scheme is fully debated in Parliament…

Monday, June 6, 2011

The War On “Pilgrims” Goes International

As the rolling news channels give the coalition the PR gift of hard-line union members booing what most people will see as perfectly sensible suggestions from Vince Cable, the union war has opened up on another front. Regular readers will be aware of Guido’s campaign against union officials that are paid for by the taxpayer, or “Pilgrims” as they are affectionately known. Having been raised in Parliament a number of times, not least at PMQs, it seems the campaign has spread to the other side of the pond.

The Washington Post reports that Rep. Phil Gingrey will attempt to push a bill through Congress to sharply limit the activity which blights US politics too. The Republican from Georgia sums up the issue nicely:

“Official time is not fair to the government or the taxpayer and works solely to the benefit of labor unions and employees who serve as its representative or steward. With an extraordinary amount of federal employees authorized to use 100% official time on behalf of their union, the federal government loses the immensely valuable civil service for which he or she was originally hired to perform. Additionally, taxpayers pay for absolutely no official productivity on their own behalf while federal employees use official time.”

Quite, though Guido isn’t sure the “Pilgrim” name will catch on over there.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Saturday Seven Up

7upLast week was a monster of a week with super-injunctions, and the breaking of them, driving readers here to find out more as the papers held back for fear of Schillings. Twitter triumphed beating Schillings and the judges with a little help from transparency campaigner John Hemming MP. In a chilling legal environment we kept readers up to date with the battle and made the case against Schillings forcefully.

This blog has also been at the forefront of the Huhne hunt, pushing it along and tracking every development in a story which is now entering its fourth week. You have to admire Huhne’s limpet-like quality in the face of adversity. He spins even faster than he drives, yesterday The Telegraph fell for his line (Guido was sceptical from the outset) and it took until yesterday evening before Vicky Pryce got her rebuttal out via Michael Crick. We’re eagerly awaiting what could be the fourth Sunday of newspaper coverage tomorrow…

All this newsflow made last week the busiest week of the year so far, Monday alone saw 104,923 page views from readers keen on discovering more about super-injunctions and the latest developments in the Huhne saga. The week saw 119,737 visitors making 348,984 visits to view 582,110 pages. Thanks to you we’re Britain’s favourite blog, the one you love and they hate. The top stories last week in order of popularity were:

You’re either in front of Guido, or you are behind…

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hank the Teaching “Pilgrim”

This is Hank Roberts. He’s a geography teacher at Copland School in Brent. Well sort of, that was before he became a “pilgrim”. A full-time union official, paid for by the taxpayer to do full-time union duties, rather than the front-line role he should be doing. The last figures that Guido could get his hands on showed that our Hank cost the school £53,000pa to have him on full-time release for his union activities.

The struggling school has to pay around £106,000 every year to three union officials not to teach. However the local authority only budgeted the school with £70,000 for this malarkey in 2009/10, and £78,000 in 2008/09. In the last two years, a school in one of the most deprived areas of the country has had to pick up a £64,000 shortfall in union funding, out of its already tight and struggling budget . It is feared that this annual shortfall could have been going on for as long as twenty years…

But it gets worse. Despite being paid to work for the brothers, it seems Hank has even grander ideas. He spent the summer term of 2008 as part of the “Wembley Park Action Group”, sitting up a tree to stop a City Academy being built.

This action resulted in him being convicted at Willesden County Court and fined what he called “a substantial sum of money”, believed to be around £3,000. All the way through this mess, the taxpayer was funding his activities, to the despair of his school and Brent Council.

Hank’s personally-aggrandising website states that he is the “Organising Secretary of UNIFY and a member of all three teacher unions” as well as being elected Senior Vice President (2011), National President (2012) of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers. Presumably taking more money from these positions…

Guido spoke to Hank earlier and he claims that from September he will be going down to three days a week on union activity. Which makes everything ok. There’s more to this one though. Complaints about Hank have been raised in the past, and fell on some very interesting deaf ears…

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Saturday Seven Up

7upThe blog has been busy at the forefront of breaking news this week, leading on two front-page issues: Huhne and super-injunctions. On Monday we were the first to exclusively reveal where Vicky Pryce was on that fateful night in March 2003, pipping Michael Crick to be first to pixel. On Tuesday our poll of over 4,549 readers revealed that 96% thought Chris Huhne was lying.

Wednesday morning economic data released showed the unemployment rate falling, we suggested Ed Balls go back to the drawing board. PMQs was rowdy, Aidan Burley MP asked the PM to back Guido’s campaign against “Union Pilgrims”, the taxpayer-funded union organisers paid to agitate full-time instead of doing their frontline public sector jobs. Thursday marked Day 11 of the Huhne speeding story, the point where Alastair Campbell says the game is up.

Thursday we outed the doctor who has appeared in political adverts for Miliband, Brown, Sadiq Khan and Tony Blair. Friday was super-injunction day again, we named the billionaire who has muzzled Britain’s press and laughed at Ryan Giggs for being the fall guy for Schillings, the lawyers who more than any other firm have brought the law into disrepute. For good measure we revealed that the Shadow Chancellor’s political adviser had failed to declare his financial interests in breach of parliament’s rules.

Last week saw 97,086 visitors make 298,256 visits to view 467,784 pages. Thanks to you we’re Britain’s favourite blog, the one you love and they hate. The top stories last week in order of popularity were:

You’re either in front of Guido, or you are behind…

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pilgrims Picked On At PMQs

Regarding full-time union officials, or Pilgrims as they have come to be known, Guido wrote last week:

“There are 2,493 Pilgrims across the public sector, union officials, paid not to provide the service they represent, but instead do political activities that should be funded by the unions. Without having to pay their staff, the unions can spend the money raised through their subs on other things, like keeping the Labour Party solvent.”

Well there was certainly one happy reader. This is what Aidan Burley had to ask at PMQs:

Mr Aidan Burley (Cannock Chase) (Con): There are currently 2,500 trade union representatives across the public sector paid not to provide the service that they represent but to carry out campaigning activities that should be funded by the unions—and because the unions do not pay their salaries, they can spend their subs on other things, such as subsidising that lot over there. Does the Prime Minister not think it time that that was reformed?

The Prime Minister: My hon. Friend raises an important point. [Hon. Members: “No he doesn’t!”] It is interesting that whenever someone raises a point about union funding they get shouted down by the Labour party, because Labour Members do not want any examination of what trade unions do, or how much money they give to the Labour party. [Interruption.] I think that they protest a little too much

This week, Guido will be exposing another Pilgrim, this time a teacher. In the meantime Guido strongly encourages Aidan and his collegues to sign EDM1799 demanding an end to this obscene loophole.

Video via Dom Robinson

Seen Elsewhere

Ditch Tobacco Plain Packaging | Grassroots Conservatives
What Farage, Boris and Rob Ford Have in Common | William Walter
Labour Spell New Adviser’s Name Wrong | ITV
Dave Stung by Jellyfish | Sun
City Minister’s Inheritance Tax Dodging Trusts | Indy
What I Would Have Done if I was Sarah Wollaston | Iain Dale
Boris is an Epic Europhile | Louise Mensch
Warsi Got PM to Confront “Secular Fundamentalism” | Fraser Nelson
Guardian April Fools Apology | Press Gazette
Jenni Russell and Her Child’s Godfather, Ed Miliband | Breitbart
Labour’s Left and Right are Growing Restive | Staggers


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Rod Liddle on the loony UN sexism special rapporteur:

“There is more sexism in Britain than in any other country in the world, according to a mad woman who has been sent here by the United Nations.

Rashida Manjoo is a part-time professor of law at Cape Town University in the totally non-sexist country of South Africa (otherwise known as Rape Capital Of The World).

Mrs Magoo has been wandering around with her notebook and is appalled by the sexist “boys’ club” culture here, apparently.

I don’t doubt we still have sexism in the UK. But is it worse than in, say, Saudi Arabia, d’you think, honey-lamb? Or about 175 other countries? Get a grip, you doolally old bat.”



orkneylad says:

What’s he been doing FFS, mining bitcoins?


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