+ + + 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.

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…

Farron's Progress Offer

Guido couldn’t help but laugh at the news that Tim Farron has invited enemies-of-the-people Progress to the LibDem party conference. Farron has written Andrew Adonis, cc’ing the nations media:

“I have noted the moves from the GMB and others within the Labour Party to sideline Progress and force its members out of the party. This is a great shame. I do not mean to patronise you or your members by suggesting your response should be to join the Liberal Democrats… (but) we are also a party that is prepared to work with others for the good of the country…You and your members are welcome to join us and I’m sure the debate will be all the richer for it.”

Given that Progress are a bunch of right-wingers it’s hardly likely they would want to break bread with an old lefty like Farron. Maybe if he promised not to tell any jokes…

Labour General Secretary Breaks Strike Ranks With Leadership

Labour’s neutered General Secretary Iain McNicol seems to be breaking ranks from the party leadership and backing strikes. Yesterday he promised the GMB conference that Labour will be out on the streets in support of the next demonstration. The next planned action is the Unite bus drivers strikes during the Games. Yet Ed said any strike over the Olympic period would be “unacceptable and wrong”…

According to today’s Morning Star Tom Watson received a jubilant standing ovation from hundreds of delegates for his war on the press. He told them that “there have been some dark and very lonely nights since News International started coming for me”. The best ones write themselves…

UPDATE: Labour sources get in touch to point out that McNicol was referring to a TUC day of action in autumn.

Union Turns on Blairites in Labour Bloodbath

The GMB Congress has descended into an even bigger farce than expected after it passed a motion to outlaw Blairite pressure group Progress from the Labour Party. In a frothing attack, the GMB slammed Progress for accepting the need for spending cuts, undermining Ken Livingstone’s campaign and briefing against Ed Miliband to the press. The decision of Progress patron Lord Sainsbury to stop donating to the party might also have something to do with it… 

The motion, which lays into Miliband and Balls for failing to bring about a socialist revolution, appears to be part of a summer putsch of centre-left Labour figures. At least this means Dan Hodges will have some company. Their ten point lead in the polls should see Labour go into their most buoyant conference in years, yet it seems the left are determined to turn it in to a witch-hunt…

UPDATE: Dan Hodges was for three years up until 2003 the GMB’s director of communications.

Unionised Greedy Doctors Upsetting Medical Colleagues

The average GP earned £105,700 in 2009-10.

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…[…]

+ READ MORE +

Len Says Jump

With the Labour Party already in a precarious financial position, overspending by some £1.7m last year, there is more bad news coming down the line. Their biggest donor Unite are agitating before their conference in June for which Left Futures have the agenda.[…]

+ READ MORE +

All In It Together

Unite assistant General Secretary Diana Holland is getting a lot of coverage today due to the ongoing chaos her union is threatening, not over the price of fuel but how much money already well paid drivers get to distribute it. What the TV news seem to be ignoring is that she is also the Treasurer of the Labour Party.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Trade Union Lawyers Have Previous For Empty Threats

As Guido reported yesterday, Bob Crow has sent a laughable legal threat to the Boris campaign. He used the trade union ambulance chasers Thompsons to sabre rattle, but if their past form is anything to go by, the Mayor shouldn’t be too worried.[…]

+ READ MORE +

The Ken and Bob Show

In the madness of yesterday Guido missed Bob Crow’s hilarious threat to sue Boris for associating him with Ken. Nice try Bob. Things must be getting really toxic for Ken. Something tells Guido this one won’t be reaching a court room.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Leaked Labour HQ Letter Shows Staff Anger Over Charles Allen + Row Set to Flare Up Again Over More Job Appointments + Labour Staffer Preparing Industrial Tribunal Against Leadership

Some of the  heat was taken out of the stand-off between the Labour high command and their unhappy HQ staff last week by a promise that all future jobs would be advertised internally. The row over the appointment of a new Labour Party Executive and a reorganisation of the party structure reached a peak with HQ staff calling in the unions to try find a solution.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Labour Staffers Call in the Unions in Row with Leadership Anger Growing at Former Goldman Sachs Adviser’s Actions

The row over the Labour Party’s internal restructuring is growing. Guido understands that Labour HQ staffers have gone to union arbitrators from the GMB as their dispute over the appointment of the new Executive Directors continues. Given that the party managed to overspend by £1.7m last year, a strike might just save them a bit of cash…

Chief of Staff Tim Livesey is said to be in despair at “what an amateur operation the whole thing is…”.[…]

+ READ MORE +

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.

[…]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

David Cowling, the BBC’s head of political research, in an internal memo…

“It seems to me that the London bubble has to burst if there is to be any prospect of addressing the issues that have brought us to our current situation. There are many millions of people in the UK who do not enthuse about diversity and do not embrace metropolitan values yet do not consider themselves lesser human beings for all that. Until their values and opinions are acknowledged and respected, rather than ignored and despised, our present discord will persist. Because these discontents run very wide and very deep and the metropolitan political class, confronted by them, seems completely bewildered and at a loss about how to respond (“who are these ghastly people and where do they come from?” doesn’t really hack it). The 2016 EU referendum has witnessed the cashing in of some very bitter bankable grudges but I believe that, throughout this 2016 campaign, Europe has been the shadow not the substance.”

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