£100 Million of Taxpayers’ Cash Wasted on Trade Union Pilgrims

£100 million of taxpayers’ cash could be saved by clamping down on trade union facility time, according to new government figures. Facility time for ‘Pilgrims’ is paid time off for trade union business. For example:

  • Transport for London spends £4.98 million on subsidies to trade unions. 692 staff undertake trade union duties, 77 devote more than 50% of their time on trade union work…
  • Labour-run Lambeth council spends £281,000 a year, equivalent to 0.33% of the paybill. By contrast, Tory-run Wandsworth Council spends just £22,433, just 0.01% of the paybill…
  • Spending on facility time in the wider public sector is estimated to be around 0.14% of the total public sector pay bill – that equates to £214 million.
  • The Taxpayers Alliance found that annual spending on facility time by councils was enough to fix 277,000 extra potholes a year.

The government’s research finds that if public sector bodies outside the civil service cut facility time, £107 million a year could be saved while still allowing for trade union representation. Under new measures coming into force this summer, all public authorities must publish figures for how much they spend on such trade union subsidies. Seven years after Guido first reported on Pilgrims, they are still creaming off taxpayer cash…




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