Unions Help Teachers Pay Less Tax

Guido would like to express solidarity with £142,000 per year union fat cat Christine Blower, who has found an innovative new way to reduce her members’ tax bills. For all her moralistic demands that people “play fair on tax“, it turns out she wasn’t talking to union members. 

Unionised teachers are being advised that they can now claim tax back on their union subscriptions. Any member of the National Union of Teachers, NASUWT or any of the other major teaching unions is eligible to a generous rebate on their yearly union fees. Guido is thinking of a forming a union of yacht owners…

CCHQ Go On Union Sports Attack

Following Guido’s story yesterday about the unions restricting any chance of expanding school sports, CCHQ have joined in the fun:

Orders from the NASUWT to a membership which totals over 300,000 states that ‘Members should refuse to attend any meetings and activities outside school session times which are not on the school calendar and which are not within directed time.’ Meanwhile, the NUT is balloting its members to join the NASUWT in a ‘work to rule’. 

Conservative MP Damian Hinds, who sits on the Education Select Committee, commented:

“It is utterly hypocritical for the unions to blame the government for a lack of sport in school at the same time as ordering their members not to help with activities outside of school hours. Following the huge success of the Olympics, the last thing we want is to go back to a time when school sport was crippled by militant union leaders embarking on a damaging and irresponsible work to rule. Ed Miliband and Stephen Twigg must condemn their union allies for standing in the way of children who want to take part in sport after school. If everyone in Team GB worked to rule like the NASUWT we would have fewer medals than Australia.”

Since the militant unions blinked over the Olympic strikes, there seems to be an upping of aggression against them. Good.

Unions Blocking School Sports

Along with being berated by a cancer patient for sending Indians into space rather than paying for her treatment, the PM weighed into the school sports debate on LBC this morning. Dave told listeners:

“The problem has been too many schools not wanting to have competitive sport, some teachers not really wanting to join in and play their part, and so if we want to have a great sporting legacy for our children. More competition, more competitiveness, getting rid of the idea of all must win prizes, and you can’t have a competitive sports day.”

A micro-row has brewed with one time shadow Education Secretary Andy Burnham claiming the Tories were to blame for scrapping mandatory sports time. Either way, more sports activity for our children is out of the governments’ hands. Once again the unions are going to choke this off. Official advice given by the NASUWT teaching union in the build up to their autumn strike means that more sport will be impossible. Before strike action even begins, this is what NASUWT have ordered their members to do:

“Members should refuse to attend any meetings and activities outside school session times which are not on the school calendar and which are not within directed time. Members should refuse to agree to timetable changes where no sound educational reasons have been given for the change.

Members should refuse to undertake supervision of pupils during the lunch break.”

Well that’s that then.

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…

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…

Ken’s Crony Crow Sues and Loses

PA is reporting that Bob Crow has lost his libel action against Boris:

“The general secretary of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) had complained about leaflets produced for Mr Johnson’s campaign for re-election in May. He said they meant that his policies, leadership of the RMT and association with Mr Johnson’s predecessor, Ken Livingstone, seriously damaged Mr Livingstone’s electoral prospects and caused grave harm to Londoners’ interests.

Mr Crow also claimed they meant that he was part of and supported a culture of political immorality involving broken promises, cronyism, scandals and waste. But Mr Justice Tugendhat, at the High Court, ruled today that the words complained of were not capable of being defamatory of the union leader.”

Quite…

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

[…]

+ + + 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 […]

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 […]

Pilgrim Progress

[…]



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Quote of the Day

Tim Shipman to Adam Boulton on the TV debates…

“If Cameron gets in a car to go to the debate, Lynton Crosby will stage a car crash.”

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