Sunday, October 09, 2011

Lazy Tory journalists misfire first shot in the war on unions

Obviously readers of the Torygraph have low expectations of their journalists, given that today's "exclusive expose" around trade union facility time in the public sector is based upon the simple expedient of Freedom of Information requests (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/8815280/Taxpayers-pick-up-68m-bill-for-thousands-of-union-reps.html).

Another reason why the journalists involved in reading and summarising replies (which cost taxpayers money to provide) will probably not win any awards is that they are simply repeating a piece of work which the Tax Dodgers Alliance rather grandly refer to as "research" on the same subject (http://www.taxpayersalliance.com/campaign/2011/10/victory-campaign-stop-taxpayer-funding-unions.html).

Indeed the Torygraph itself published a similar story a little over a year ago (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/7981717/Taxpayers-spend-millions-paying-for-trade-union-activities.html) so it's hard to see why today's story is "news".

I suppose the issue of attacking trade union time off is now exciting Eric Pickles in a way that perhaps it wasn't a year ago (http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/275380/End-to-taxpayers-footing-union-bill). That's because the unions are sticking up for our members to defend our pensions from the Government of which Pickles is part (and in relation to local government, his department has just published their plans for the theft of £900 Million a year).

The Torygraph jumped the gun last year but have now found their moment. It's nice that, at the same time as they provide ammunition for Ministers to attack our unions, they also get to demonstrate the "green" credentials of today's compassionate Conservatism by recycling a year old story as if it were news. It's just a shame they have so little understanding of employee relations that they make such a hash of it.

If public servants were as lazy as Torygraph journalists, or had such low standards, maybe the latter-day Poujadistes of little England would have some cause for concern.

As it is, whilst the shoddy journalism of one Tory rag may count for little, we can expect a gathering crescendo of anti-union vitriol (bankrolled by people with pensions far more generous than ours) as we gear up for action on 30 November.

Dave Prentis has - as Nick reports online at http://lawatwork.blogspot.com/2011/10/question-on-tu-facilities-statement-by.html - rebutted the attack on trade union time-off. We mustn't let lazy right wing journalists distract us from mobilising to get the vote for action.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

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