MP tweets “Francis Maude calls a pointless statement with nothing new in a v poor attempt to get unions on to the agenda”

ParliamentCabinet Office minister Francis Maude has been accused of wasting Parliamentary time to rehash his union-busting agenda.

In a change to Commons business announced yesterday morning, Maude made an “urgent” statement on civil service trade union reform that in reality contained no new information.

He spoke about cuts to facility time for PCS representatives and the removal of check off.

John McDonnell MP, who chairs the union’s Parliamentary group, spoke in the debate and accused Maude of using up parliamentary time just for “union busting”.

He asked the minister what investigation he had made of secret plans by senior HMRC officials to undermine us. Maude declined to answer.

Labour’s front bench spokeswoman Lucy Powell tweeted: “Francis Maude calls a pointless statement with nothing new in a v poor attempt to get unions on to the agenda. Wasting everyone’s time.”

During the debate, she listed the major UK companies that offer facility time in recognition of its benefits to employers and our economy.

She reminded MPs many large companies also use check off and criticised the Tories for imposing arbitrarily short deadlines calculated to hit PCS finances, adding a Labour government would allow more time for the switch to direct debit.

A PCS spokesperson said: “We are making good progress on the switch but it remains our number one priority and we are urging all members to sign up.”

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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