£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:
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…
Unison in Tower Hamlets were at the centre of the campaign to help Lutfur Rahman escape corruption charges.
When the investigators went into the council building, Unision picketed the event with a banner saying: “Eric Pickles – Hands off Tower Hamlets… No to racism and Islamophobia”.
Here’s the Tower Hamlets Unison Branch Secretary John McLoughlin ranting about the investigation into Rahman:
A Unison newsletter claimed “Tower Hamlets is no rotten borough” and “the imposition of commissioners, with powers to appoint the key statutory officers responsible for fundamental decisions on services is wholly disproportionate.”
Brilliant. The TUC have welcomed the Tory manifesto policy of forcing the public sector and businesses to give staff three days off to volunteer:
“Trade unions are the UK’s biggest voluntary groups. This new right will give every union member a guaranteed three days for time off to get involved with union activities.”
Having spent three years trying to stop the unions agitating on the taxpayer, the government will give them three days off to organise.
Unless of course political activity is excluded from the policy?
A question to which nobody has managed to give Guido a straight answer, yet…
A Conservative Party spokesman is adamant: ‘It definitely won’t include trade unions’.
Sources claims they can exclude union activity (which is not charitable) at a legislation writing level.
We shall see…
TUC hit back again. Frances O’Grady says:
“Confusion is growing by the minute about the Conservatives’ time off for volunteering pledge. First Eric Pickles can’t make up his mind whether it is a right at all, and now the Conservatives say that there will be an approved state list of volunteering opportunities which will not include trade union activity. One wonders whether they will go on to ban help at food banks, giving advice to workers on zero-hours contracts or community wind power projects.”
After it fell to Ed Davey and DECC to provide us with this year’s political correctness gone mad Crimbo-ban story, Eric Pickles’ office have responded in characteristically pugnacious form:
“It’s been a busy year. We reversed the policies of Edward Heath; defended the right to (office) party; exposed Gordon Brown’s Big Macbill; bunked in with Theresa May to save £220 million; shelved Labour councils’ plans to hike the cost of your weekly shop; extrapolated Labour’s Jammie Dodgers bill; sent in Commissioners to clean up Tower Hamlets; did our bit for ‘elf and safety by encouraging bonfires; turned the screw on the union pilgrims; told the last one out of Labour HQ to turn off the lights; marked Europe Day by celebrating the liberation of Jersey from the Nazis; and commemorated Britain’s Victoria Cross heroes from a century past.
In some parts of Whitehall, Christmas cards are passed round like Samizdat in Soviet Russia. Not here. Have a very Merry Christmas!”
Well, tonight thank God it’s them instead of you…
Frankie Maude won the Guido award for most successful implementation of an Order-Order blog post into government policy on Tuesday, but unfortunately his Pilgrims reforms are not being embraced further afield. New figures show that in the last three years the Labour-run Welsh government has spent at over £1.5 million on NHS staff undertaking trade union activities. Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board alone spent over £500,000, this year blowing £184,231 on 2 full-time taxpayer funded trade union staff and 21-part time staff . Last year it had 37 trade union staff funded by the taxpayer, the year before it had 42. Elsewhere, the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg Health Board spent £210,000 a year for eight full time equivalent taxpayer funded trade union posts. Welsh Labour won’t win a Guido like that…
The nominees are:
And the winner:
Mad Frankie Maude takes home the Guido…