Francis Maude’s speech to the Tory Conference – Part 3

Trade unions

He said ‘One of our efficiency savings has been reform of public sector pensions. Our agreement with the unions – or with most of them – will save the taxpayer tens of billions of pounds and nearly halve the long term costs.

Unions can play an important role. But under Labour things got way out of hand. We found across Whitehall that in addition to thousands of part-time union officials on the government’s payroll there were 250 full-timers. Under Labour, they could even be promoted – one of them twice! – without ever doing an hour’s work of the Civil Service job to which they had been recruited. Just in central government alone this was costing hardworking taxpayers £30 million a year.

We’ve put a stop to that.

No longer will there be any taxpayer-funded fulltime union officials without the explicit agreement of the Secretary of State. I can tell you that we’ve already more than halved their cost to the taxpayer. Under Labour almost 0.3% of paybill went on subsidising so-called facility time. By the end of the year this should be down below 0.1%.

Bad news for Labour. No more round-tripping where the taxpayer subsidises the unions and the unions subsidise Labour. And yes Ed Miliband – Labour has moved to the left. Not because you’ve led them there but because you’ve been led there. Marched by the left to the left. Led by Len McLuskey your paymaster and puppetmaster’.

Cutting facility time doesn’t save a penny; the pay bill before and after the facility cut was exactly the same; all that has been done (which obviously is the important thing) is that less time is spent by union reps on defending members.

He also knows full well that main Civil Service unions are not affiliated to Labour and don’t give any money to that party. It would be nice to think that Len McLuskey was the puppet master of labour but we all know it ain’t so. Len may become our leader if the merger with Unite goes through but Unite’s influence in Labour is not in proportion with the money it gives.

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