I do not agree with the Industrial action that has taken place today. This does not mean though that I do not have huge respect for the hard-working men and women who keep our vital services running, particularly all those in Dover and Deal. We depend on them every day and they do a brilliant job. However I am angry that union bosses are ordering millions of public sector workers to strike this week - even while talks are under way. Only around a third of union members backed industrial action.
Today I asked the Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude about the responsibility of these strikes:
As a former private sector worker, I know how many people will be wondering, given the irresponsible nature of these strikes, why £113 million of Government money is paid to the unions. Would it not be better used on body armour for our troops in the field, or on looking after sick babies in our hospitals by improving intensive care?
It is entirely correct that a large amount of taxpayers' money is effectively used to pay for full and part-time union officials. There can be perfectly good justification for some of that, in order to sort out local disputes quickly and effectively, but that there should now be 260 full-time union officials on the civil service payroll is really hard to justify, and we are reviewing it.
I hope we can spend that £113 million on much needed public services rather than hand outs for trade unions.
It has been an honour and privilege to serve as Member of Parliament for Dover & Deal. I hope to be re-elected to serve our community for another term.
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