It is eighteen months since Guido launched his campaign against Pilgrims – taxpayer-funded trade union officials – and tonight victory of sorts can be be declared. During his speech to Tory party conference on Monday, Frankie Maude will announce a series of radical new measures which mean the Whitehall versions of Jane Pilgrim, Hank Roberts and Julie Davies will no longer be able to rip off the taxpayer for the unions’ benefit. Civil servants will now be banned from spending more than half their time on trade union work, with a new maximum of 0.1% of a departmental budget can now be spent on union representation. Paid time off for union activities has also been scrapped meaning we will no longer be picking up the tab for PCS conferences. Any special circumstances will have to be signed off at Ministerial level and details published online. The unions are furious, but there’s not much they can do to fight transparency.
Credit should be given to the sterling work done by the Trade Union Reform Campaign in helping to expose Pilgrims. TURC chairman Aidan Burley tells Guido:
“These welcome reforms are long over-due, and it speaks volumes that a Labour government bankrolled by the Unions never got round to even ensuring that Government Departments kept basic records of time employees spent on working for trade unions.”
While TURC CEO Mark Clarke adds:
“It is great news that Francis Maude is calling time on the wasteful practice of Pilgrims in central government. But this will still leave thousands of Pilgrims working in schools, hospitals and local government. That means nurses not nursing and teachers not teaching. The Maude reforms need to be extended across the whole public sector so we end this abuse once and for all.”
A very pleasing start, that needs to be enforced across the public sector..
UPDATE: The Taxpayers’ Alliance data was at the heart of this fight, they’ve also responded to the news:
“This move to reduce facility time in Whitehall will save taxpayers millions of pounds, which will be most welcome at a time when hard-pressed families across the UK are having to tighten their belts.However, similar action is also going to be required elsewhere in the public sector. Only then will the days of nurses and council staff working full-time for the union instead of doing the job for which they are paid be consigned to history.”