Jane Pilgrim

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Jane Pilgrim is an English full-time trade union organiser working in the National Health Service for UNISON.[1] She came to public attention in 2011 after criticising the government's health policies.[2] Despite being billed as a nurse, she was found to be a full-time trade union official, being paid an annual salary of £40,000 by the hospital.[1] She is now under investigation by both St George's Hospital and UNISON for running a private health consultancy called 'The Pilgrim Way' on the side, creating a conflict of interests.[1]

After this discovery, full-time taxpayer-funded trade union officials have become known as "Pilgrims",[3] with an Early Day Motion being introduced to the House of Commons condemning such practices.[4] David Morris MP has raised the issue with the Health Secretary, while Alok Sharma MP asked a question of the Prime Minister. David Cameron responded that "It's nice work if you can get it!"[5] Sharma has also sent Freedom of Information requests to all local councils to uncover how many "Pilgrims" are employed in local government, with the replies indicating at least £35m a year being spent,[6] with 2,493 full-time equivalent public sector employees worked for trade unions at the taxpayers’ expense in 2009-10. .[7]

Calling herself a 'peace and love' activist, the Daily Mail has reported that Pilgrim is the leader of a thirty-person commune in Kingston upon Thames.[1] She was an active member of the Labour Party in Kingston and Surbiton, which UNISON - which is affiliated to Labour - denied.[citation needed] She has since joined the Green Party.[citation needed] In 2009, she had been criticised for sending staff on "shopping jaunts", so-called "service safaris", to John Lewis to find out about good service.[1]

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