The Million Pound Pilgrim Full Figures Reveal the True Cost Of Julie Davies

Guido has got hold of the original FoI response regarding Julie Davies, the teaching Pilgrim from earlier. As you can see the information provided was only in regard to 2002 and 2009. In this seven year period, Davies cost the taxpayer £679,198. This isn’t just her salary (£35,000pa), but the cost of paying someone else to cover for her too:

Given that Davies was also paid to do trade union activity for three days a week between 1997 and 2000, and five days a week between 2000 and 2002, the £300,000 figure quoted in the Standard tonight is way short of the real picture. Guido has been doing the real maths based on what she cost the taxpayer between 2002-09:

 Sept ’97 to April ’00: 3/5 x (£679,198/7) x 2.5 years = £145,542

April ’00 to March ’02: (£679,198/7) x 2 years = £194,057

Add that to the figures given by the council and you get a cost of £1,018,797 up until March 2009. Add to that the £70,000 that Davies has been paid for 2010 and 2011, plus the cost of covering for her in that period and that figure hits £1,158,797. Over half-a-million pounds wasted on one teacher not teaching…

Meet Julie Davies the £300,000 Teaching Pilgrim

Pilgrim fans will love Julie Davies, a teacher in Haringey who hasn’t stood in front of a blackboard since the turn of the century. Despite being paid £35,000pa to teach English at Northumberland Park Community School in Haringey, Davies has been working for the NUT five days a week since 2000. Instead of teaching she seems to spend most of her time agitating against the government and leaving comments on Lynne Featherstone’s blog. Guido particularly enjoyed the quote Davies gave the Standard:

“I’m an ordinary teacher. Most of my time’s spent sitting next to teachers who are being sacked or disciplined.” She denied being a “pilgrim” – a union official paid from the public purse. “I work really hard. I’m paid £35,000 a year by Haringey, and help when someone’s in trouble. I don’t work for the union. My substantive position is English teacher. If I stopped doing this [union] job I could return tomorrow.”

That’s the plan Julie, that’s the plan…

UPDATE: An eagle-eyed co-conspiritor points out that Davies is not registered as an “ordinary teacher” on her school’s website. Not only is she being paid £35,000pa, but the same amount of money will have to be spent on another teacher to cover for her. The NUT should pay for this organiser. 

Labour TURCeys

Early Day Motion 2609 is proof, if ever needed, that Labour MPs will do anything in blind support of the trade unions. In what looks like a sycophantic pat on the back for union activists, TURC member David Morris notes John Healey’s spin about all the wonderful work of Pilgrims, but  Tory adds the pertinent point that if so much is done for free, why should taxpayers pick up the tab for their other activities?

Falling into the trap Labour MPs Ronnie Campbell and Alan Meale made their mark, before withdrawing their names this morning after Labour tweeters pointed out their mistake. That didn’t stop doddery Jim Dobbin adding his name today though…

Lobby fodder. 

The Crow Flies

As Guido revealed yesterday union lobbyists are on course to be added to statutory register of spinmeisters. Cue faux outrage. Speaking to the Standard’s Craig Woodhouse, Bob Crow has thrown his toys out of the pram before he’s even read the proposals:

 “The idea that trade unions, representing millions of workers up and down the country, should be bracketed in with the chancers and shmoozers from the shadowy world of political lobbying is a gross insult to men and women fighting for a fair deal in the workplace. This is just another blatant ConDem attack on the trade union movement and shows complete and utter contempt for the role we play in protecting working people from the savagery of casino capitalism.”

What are you paid £145,000 a year for then Bob? 

Watch: Dromey’s Apology

What a  gracious and dignified man. Good on him for not playing down nearly sixty thousand pounds in secret payments… 

Dromey Was in the Pay of Lobbyists While an MP

Jack Dromey, aka Mrs Harman, aka Unites’ man on the inside, will be forced to issue an apology to the House for failing to declare he was still in the pay of the union when he became an MP. While many Labour MPs benefit from union cash, such a formal arrangement was enough for John Lyon to gently toss an abridged version of the book at Dromey’s feet. Imagine if it had been any other form of lobbyist giving secret payments of £57,000 to an MP…

UPDATE: John Lyons said the matter was serious but has given leniency due to Dromey being “a new an inexperienced MP”. He’s been political operator for decades. He knew what he was doing…

Government Consultation to Examine Union Lobbying

The much awaited government consultation paper on the statutory registration of lobbyists will be released on Friday morning. Even if it recommends putting cowbells on these spinmeisters, it wouldn’t stop them…

Guido hears that there will be one section of it that Labour MPs will find particularly uncomfortable. The consultation will include scrutiny of the relationship between politicians and trade unionists, with an eye to making political union officials and liaison officers sign the register. Apparently Canada will be used as a model, unions were forced to register there.

Given the amount of money floating between the unions and Labour, as well as their presumption that they will be consulted before any big decision made by the party, the move seems like a no-brainer. Unions lobby for their vested interests and pay to play. Just take a look at the recent Cash for Votes scandal that saw countless Labour MPs take cheques in election season and do their paymaster’s legislating for the rest of the parliament. Given that millions of taxpayer pounds are channelled to the unions every year, we should know who is being paid to meet the politicians who hand out the cash.

Exclusive: Liam Fox Returns for Senior Trade Union Role

Guido hears that the Trade Union Reform Campaign will announce this afternoon that Liam Fox has accepted a senior role in the group. Having virtually gone to ground since his resignation, he will be joining ten or so other MPs on their Parliamentary Council. Set up by Tories, TURC* is campaigning for more transparency in the union movement and an end to Pilgrims. Developing…

*For the record Neo-Guido advises the group on a pro-bono basis about social media.

UPDATE: The full Parliamentary Council is: Chairman Aidan Burley with Caroline Dinenage, Karen Bradley, Fiona Bruce, Nigel Adams, Liam Fox, Stuart Andrew, Alec Shelbrooke, David Morris, Dominic Raab.

Ed’s Change of Heart

When Ed Miliband was elected in 2010 he said:

“You have put your trust in me and I am determined to repay that trust to you. The first way I need to repay that trust is by uniting our party and taking it forward together.”

He made clear that he wasn’t going to follow the Blairite route of dividing sections of the party against each other with talk of hard choices. Less than two years later he’s had a typo-free change of heart:

In a way he has united his party, all wings seem to have it in for him. It won’t stop him taking their money though…

Unite Join the Splitters

Of all the attacks on his leadership, Miliband will have been most relieved with “Red” Len McCluskey’s war-cry in this morning’s Guardian. Unite the Union declaring that Ed is shifting to the right and thus heading over an electoral cliff was to be expected after the two Eds declared support for the public sector pay freeze and the messy announcement about not reversing cuts. Last night one Miliband insider dryly described it to Guido as “the best news he’d had all year”. While putting some distance between the leader and dinosaurs is a good plan, it’s a little more complex in this case though…

Rumours that this is coordinated are wide of the mark and there are some pretty vicious one liners for McCluskey. Blair and Brown could risk the wrath of the brothers because they were not so dependent on their money. Unite are Labour’s biggest donor at the moment and put Ed in the job. The PLP didn’t want Ed in the first place, and now he’s losing support from those that did. Team  Ed won’t be so cock-a-hoop if the money dries up…

Want to Sack Bad Teachers? Well Start With This One

While we are discussing the frankly long overdue proposal to sack rubbish teachers, why don’t we start with blog-favourite Hank Roberts. He’s a geography teacher at Copland School in Brent  Well sort of, that was before he became a “Pilgrim”. A union official, paid for by the taxpayer to do full-time union duties, rather than the front-line role he should be doing. There are hundreds of these teaching pilgrims.

At one point Hank was costing the school £53,000 per annum to have him on full-time release for his union activities, though since Guido exposed him last May, he has apparently gone back to work for at least two days a week. The school is still having to pay another teacher to cover for Hank when he is agitating – he’s “politically active” to say the least. He should be top of the sacking list.

Union Funded Turkeys Vote Against Christmas

As predicted, union backed Labour MPs mobilised to defeat Jesse Norman’s 10 Minute Rule Bill against Pilgrims. The usual nonsense was spouted in defence of taxpayer-funded trade union officials. John Healey surfaced after his Shadow Cabinet sacking to claim that Pilgrims were merely volunteering to help their unions. If they are volunteers, how come they are paid John?

The Ayes 132 /Noes 211 result is a clear message to the government to get a move on with the promised consultation on the issue. Given Cameron has backed the ban, you can add the payroll vote to that number next time. Guido will be having a look at the union donations of those who mobilised against, including those convention-busting Labour frontbenchers.

Any betting on a correlation?

Labour Abandoning Convention in Union Fight to Keep Pilgrims

In attempting to defend taxpayer-funded trade union activists, Unite the Union have accidentally poured petrol on the fire. Their press release today admits, by their own count, that “around 200,000 workers carry out representative duties.” Strangely the number of these Pilgrims is far higher in the public over the private sector.

Today’s 10 Minute Rule Bill that would ban the practice has been pushed back by Lansley’s boob announcement. Labour seem rather happy about this as it means Members would have wandered off by then, as opposed to a vote immediately after PMQs. Labour sources have confirmed that the Shadow Cabinet will not be voting, but whips are encouraging their frontbench team to weigh in to defeat the motion that would ban Pilgrims. The rules are going out of the window as the unions seek a return for their investments. As is convention, the Government whips are calling for all of the government payroll to abstain. Unlike with the opposition, that includes Ministers and PPSs. The vote is expected after 1pm now.

Union Funded Labour MPs Organising Against Pilgrim Vote

After his OpEd in the Telegraph this morning, Tory MP Jesse Norman will put down at 10 Minute Rule Bill against Pilgrims immediately after PMQs on Wednesday:

Ten minute Rule Motion: Jesse Norman: Trade Union Officials (Refund of Pay to Employers): That leave be given to bring in a Bill to provide that pay for hours worked on behalf of trade unions by trade union officials during hours when they are paid by an employer should be refunded to the employer by the trade union; and for connected purposes.

Success with a 10 Minute Rule Bill is rare, but it should be a good reminder for the government about this issue in the run up to their promised consultation. Cameron has pledged to scrap taxpayer-funded trade union activity so it would be embarrassing for him if it were to fall. The union funded Labour MPs are having their thumbs screwed by the brothers to organise against the vote:

From: LLOYD, Tony
Sent: 05 January 2012 14:25
Subject: Ten Minute Rule Bill next Wednesday after PMQs

Dear Colleague,

You may be aware that the Conservative backbencher Jesse Norman MP is introducing a Ten Minute Rule Motion on Wednesday 11th January. It will be opposed by Labour MPs in the Chamber and it would be useful if you could be around to vote against. Its timing is subject to statements and PMQs but it will be the first piece of business after 12.30.

Regards,

Tony
Tony Lloyd MP
Manchester Central

What Tony doesn’t mention in his email is that he is the chairman of the Trade Union Group of Labour MPs.

The group greases the wheels for unions to manipulate legislation. They seem to be getting their money’s worth today…

Rachel Reeves Deceives

Guido can’t think why the Tories decided to pull IDS from the Daily Politics today. He’s said to be fuming, particularly at Ken Clarke, and made said fury perfectly clear over the phone to him this morning. Owen Paterson has been stirring things up too. Either way it was the Pilgrims™ section of the show that Guido particularly enjoyed:

Leaving aside her terrible attempt at justifying the practice of full-time taxpayer-funded trade union officials, Reeves had the cheek to try and claim that she was not funded by Unite the Union. She acknowledged that they gave her Leeds West Constituency money (£1,500 in May 2009 and another £1,500 in the April before the election), but she categorically denied she had received money directly from Unite:

“I don’t get any money from a trade union…”

In November 2007, two months after being selected as Labour’s candidate for Leeds West, Rachel Reeves declared a donation from Unite of £1,979.50 to the Electoral Commission. Donation Ref. No. C0002459 was paid directly to one Ms Rachel Reeves.

Unions Feeling the Heat

Guido has been watching with great amusement as the unions slowly lose their nut when presented with any scrutiny of their activity. The Labour MPs in their pocket rush to their defence and while other lobbyists are caught on camera, the spinmeisters at the TUC still argue that their movement’s donations are the cleanest in the business. The Trade Union Reform Campaign, set up by Aidan Burley MP and Tory candidate Mark Clarke, has already been welcomed by the PM, and has seen the unions scrambling to defend the practice of Pilgrims – badly. Another Tory MP has called for a register of interests for union bosses, given the level of public money they receive. The government response was shock that one did not already exist…

With the unions seemingly unable to even get their own members out on strike, Unite are now looking to sign up people on benefits to join. Apparently its “only 50p” a week – though he wouldn’t phrase it like that about a suggested cut. The war is warming up, and Guido hears that the Daily Politics will be well worth a watch…

Green Party Demonstrates Care for the Environment

Guido got a press release from the Green Party yesterday telling him they were the only party that supported the strikers. Obviously the Greens would be marching with the unions. Then dumping their placards on Embankment afterwards…

Clarkson Takes Firm Line On Union Unrest

Cameron also took a firm line on Union Pilgrims at PMQs yesterday:

“I think the idea of full-time trade unionists working in the public sector on trade union business, rather than serving the public – I don’t think that is right and we are going to put that to an end. The evidence today makes that even stronger.”

Defunding the left of the £113 million wasted on union agitators which can be switched to frontline services is no small thing.

Compared with Clarkson, it is a centrist position…

We're All in This Together

MPs are going to suffer this Wednesday.  Catering staff are going on strike, so no £15-for-three-courses subsidised meals on expenses for them. It is tough at the top…

Cash for Votes Gets PMQs Treatment

There was audible gasps of righteous indignation from the Labour benches when Cameron sung the praises of the Taxpayers’ Alliance at PMQs today. He quipped that at least they didn’t pay to put down amendments. Another happy reader[…] Read the rest

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Angela Rayner on Labour’s economic policy (via Speccie):

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