Pickles: Councils should cut union facility time to save funds
Councils should adopt a private sector approach to unions and cut spending on facility time, local government secretary Eric Pickles has said.
Advising local authorities on how to cut spending on union activities, Pickles has told town halls to significantly reduce time permitted for workers to attend trade union activities and limit facility time to a set percentage of an organisation’s pay bill.
Time off for union matters should be unpaid and restrictions placed on the use of office space and facilities – including printing equipment – for trade union representatives.
Council employees should not be spending a majority of their working hours on trade union duties, Pickles said.
Councillors must declare payments and sponsorships from trade unions to ensure there is not a conflict of interest, he advised.
Pickles said: ‘For too long in the public sector, trade unions have received taxpayer funding that is poor value for money and inadequately controlled. Reducing such public subsidies to trade unions is a practical way that councils can save money, to keep council tax down and protect frontline services for local residents - including union members themselves.
‘Trade union activities and campaigning in local councils should be funded by members’ subscriptions, not bankrolled by the taxpayer. Freedom from state dependency will also mean that trade union bosses will better reflect and respond to the wishes and views of the grassroots members who pay the bill.’
GMB national secretary, Brian Strutton, said: ‘It is disgraceful that he is attacking ordinary working people, most of whom are women, who have volunteered to represent their colleagues at work.
‘All the reps we have do a huge amount unpaid in their own time as well. Due to the terrible cuts Eric Pickles has landed on local authorities the trade union reps have been constantly dealing with job losses, service reductions, reorganisations, transfers and all manner of other difficult and stressful problems.’
And history, of course, teaches us that such lunatics should be completely ignored by all right thinking citizens - imagine how different the 20th C would have been had the people laughed at Hitler/Stalin/Thatcher and later Bush and Blair. Stop feeding such incendiary nonsense with the oxygen of publicity and it will soon die away..... ...hopefully.Steven Chandler, Added: Thursday, 21 March 2013 02:17 PM
That was a long note to admit you were wrong anonymous Council employee - As for you Chandler you are beyond contempt, re read your own postsJ Smith, Added: Wednesday, 13 March 2013 09:11 PM
'Smith' won't let a good fact get in the way of one of his bug-eyed-and-bespittled rants, no matter how ill-informed he comes across. Boorish, opinionated Trolls like himself just need to be heard through any medium - it's an illness I believe? I feel sorry for him really....Steven Chandler, Added: Wednesday, 13 March 2013 05:19 PM
Mr Smith, Ha ha! Please read people's posts properly and make sure you uinderstand them before calling them a liar...Now I don't know if this is a little bit beyond your ken but the clue is in the word 'opt' i.e. it is optional, meaning you have a choice. You may care to check a dictionary if you don't believe me. Belief versus fact Mr Smith, belief versus fact...enough said your call!Eco Nasty..Local Gov, Added: Monday, 11 March 2013 08:43 AM
On the plus side, J smith did say 'Lions led by donkeys' which the first time ever he's said anything positive about public sector employees. Aw bless. He's a big old softy at heart. And I'm a Lion. Grrr.Tired and Emotional, Added: Friday, 8 March 2013 04:39 PM
Big green you are out of touch and a liar. You have to OPT OUT of the Political Levy, anything else is disingenuous but why is that not a surprise - Go back to the Union bunker and work up a better answerJ Smith, Added: Thursday, 7 March 2013 08:37 PM
@ Mr Smith: Showing your ignorance there I'm afraid...sorry to burst your right wing bubble but (and are you sitting down as this may be a shock) you do have to 'opt in' to union membership AND you are not required to pay into the Political fund as a Union member if you don't want to...now I don't expect to have to read any more uninformed nonsense on Unions from your good self..by all means say you don't like them, but please stick to facts when justifying that otherwise you won't be taken sEco Nasty Local government, Added: Thursday, 7 March 2013 01:29 PM
"Enemy within", "Lions led by donkeys", what is it, three uneducated cliches and you win a prize?R Owen, Added: Thursday, 7 March 2013 12:13 PM
Mark Serwotka the most dangerous person in Britain, sending the PCS troops OTT, whilst sitting behind his own untouched high salary & pension. - Lions led by donkeys. - Self selection for redundancy commencedJ Smith, Added: Tuesday, 5 March 2013 02:52 PM
J Fry you've competely missed the point I was making and that is CT payers shouldn't be paying for union work, the unions should. Nothing wrong in having unions but councils shouldn't paying for their staff to do union work, what don't you understand??Stephen Reimer, Added: Tuesday, 5 March 2013 02:02 PM
Enemy within? Do try and keep your parody original.R Owen , Added: Monday, 4 March 2013 10:46 PM
The self serving unions have gone on he offensive on this one .. After removing taxpayer subsidy we need a change to the payroll .. Where staff members have to OPT IN to union subscription rather than opt out. - Lets see how many wish to join then . .. Still no specific examples of how TU's benefit the taxpayer. Not surprising, they are the enemy within ..J Smith, Added: Monday, 4 March 2013 04:52 PM
V Couper - well said J Smith - How about saving the council to pay out unnecassarily on claims where they should of done the right thing in the first place. R Owen/S Reimer - your comments are why we why we have Unions.Jamie Fry (my opinion only), Added: Monday, 4 March 2013 12:24 PM
There is not much to discuss. Many Tory councils understand the value of TU involvement in employee issues and conclude a sensible facility agreement which regulates the arrangement in the interest of staff and the council. Piffles is just being his usual self - going for buffoon of the yearPatrick Newman, ex local government, Stevenage, Added: Monday, 4 March 2013 10:33 AM
For once I agree with Pickles that unions should pay for union work. I have worked with a number of authorities and the creeping increase in staff time doing union work has morphed over the years from 1 to 2 days until they become full time for the union being paid by the CT payers. This is gradually being reined in and is more of a philosophical argument than cost cutting. The reduction of staff time is the message Pickles is making staff can make up the time lost to attending meetings.Stephen Reimer, Added: Monday, 4 March 2013 10:14 AM
Apologies but I have had to add my 'comment' in 5 parts as it would not load the comment in full despite being within the 500 character limit. I felt so strongly about this I wanted ALL of my feelings to be known on the matter!V Couper, Added: Sunday, 3 March 2013 09:10 PM
Part 5 This is another shining example of those in charge not knowing the hard reality of life and what really goes on or they refuse to. They certainly are not living in the real world! What on earth is becoming if this country? To think these people are supposed to be educated and well informed and yet they their actions and ideas are far from it. If the truth be told the Union could do a better job at running this Country than any of our bloody politicians manage!V Couper, Added: Sunday, 3 March 2013 09:08 PM
Part 4 Union representatives and Stewards volunteer to do the work they do without question. The irony of it all is that we are the people who provide support to union members from those with the attitude of bullies like Pickles! Pickles has shown himself in his true colours; he hasn?t got an ounce of humanity in him. Wake up and get in the real world, will you!V Couper, Added: Sunday, 3 March 2013 09:07 PM
Part 3 Just another case of ?I?m alright Jack, and sod the rest of you. Why should we have to pay for all the mistakes made by the Government (all parties are guilty), take some responsibility rather than punishing the innocent. The state that this country is in has been felt by the vast majority of its citizens and people need the support of the union more now than ever due to redundancy etc. When are the Politicians going to start taking some responsibility?V Couper, Added: Sunday, 3 March 2013 09:07 PM
Part 2?Bosses will better reflect and respond to the wishes and views of the grassroots members who pay the bill?. Who are we then? We pay our taxes and our union membership. Who are we if not grassroots members; we need support from the union also. What do you think our subs go towards then Pickles, if not towards the operating costs of the union? Pickles hasn?t got a clue, he does not know what he is talking about.V Couper, Added: Sunday, 3 March 2013 09:06 PM
Part 1 ?Advising local authorities on how to cut spending on union activities;? before advising on how this should be done Pickles needs to get a grip on reality. ?Time off for union matters should be unpaid and restricted.? In our Executive alone I know of stewards that take Union work home to do during evenings and weekends to ensure the support that our membership requires is received and I am confident that are many others that do exactly the same.V Couper, Added: Sunday, 3 March 2013 09:05 PM
'Advising local authorities on how to cut spending on union activities;? before advising on how this should be done Pickles needs to get a grip on reality. ?Time off for union matters should be unpaid and restricted.? In our Executive alone I know of stewards that take Union work home to do during evenings and weekends to ensure the support that our membership requires is received and I am confident that are many others that do exactly the same. ?Bosses will better reflect and respond toV Couper, Building Surveyor, Ashford BC, Added: Sunday, 3 March 2013 01:24 PM
What is to think about? Why should the taxpayer pay for it? If the unions members do not wish to pay let it all wither on the vine. - Name one thing that public sector unions have done for the taxpayer, except give them grief and added cost?J Smith, Added: Friday, 1 March 2013 08:32 PM
Hopefully this will prove as popular (in terms of take up) with councils as the bloated fools other schemes such as the much vaunted and completely stupid and hypocritical weekly bin collection scheme and the Council Tax freeze...Paul Marten, Added: Friday, 1 March 2013 02:56 PM
The most successful economy in the EU, Germany, involves staff and unions in decision making of even private corporations. The tiny sums involved is money well spent.Patrick Newman, ex local government, Stevenage, Added: Friday, 1 March 2013 02:45 PM
Complete red herring. Spending on trade union time is a drop in the ocean of council finances. Plus, in many ways management already have a control over trade union time. If they act as good managers, follow good management practices and obey the law on employment, there'll be much less needs for union reps to do anything so they won't need as much time. If management act as bad managers, follow bad management practices and break the law on employment the unions reps will be busy!Stephen Booth, Added: Friday, 1 March 2013 02:08 PM
"Adopt a private sector approach", in other words cease to recognise them. Then watch as rights fought for, over hundreds of years, are eroded. And wait for those, who's self interest is entirely contradictory, to spout off that the race to the bottom is fully justified by the need for 'value & profit' in a 'competitive market'. And so the rich get richer and fewer and the poor get poorer or more.R Owen, Added: Friday, 1 March 2013 02:00 PM
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