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Jane Pilgrim is an English full-time trade union organiser working in the National Health Service for UNISON. She came to public attention in 2011 after criticising the government's health policies. 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. 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.
After this discovery, full-time taxpayer-funded trade union officials have become known as "Pilgrims", with an Early Day Motion being introduced to the House of Commons condemning such practices. 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!" 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, with 2,493 full-time equivalent public sector employees worked for trade unions at the taxpayers’ expense in 2009-10. .
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. She was an active member of the Labour Party in Kingston and Surbiton, which UNISON - which is affiliated to Labour - denied. She has since joined the Green Party. 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.
- Walters, Simon (16 April 2011). "Nurse who called Health Minister Andrew Lansley a liar is £40,000-a-year full-time union official". Daily Mail. Retrieved 15 May 2011.
- Randhawa, Kiran (11 April 2011). "Nurse who called Health Minister Andrew Lansley a liar is £40,000-a-year full-time union official". Evening Standard. Retrieved 15 May 2011.
- "Unions must fund their own staff". The Sunday Telegraph. 9 October 2011. Retrieved 11 December 2011.
- "Early day motion 1799 - Trade union officials paid for from the public purse". Hansard. Parliament. Retrieved 15 May 2011.
- Sharma, Alok (26 January 2011). "Sharma highlights local use of taxpayers' money to fund full-time union posts". Sharma, Alok. Retrieved 15 May 2011.
- Sharma, Alok (28 April 2011). "Alok Sharma MP: How Council Tax payers have funded £35 million of Trade Union salaries over the past three years". ConservativeHome. Retrieved 15 May 2011.
- "Research Note 76 – Taxpayer funding of trade unions" (PDF). TaxPayers' Alliance. 5 September 2010. Retrieved 15 May 2011.
- Malnick, Edward; Sawer, Patrick; Robert, Mendick (9 October 2011). "Meet the union reps whose duties are funded by the taxpayer". The Sunday Telegraph. Retrieved 11 December 2011.
- http://www.kingston.gov.uk/be_notice_of_poll.pdf - Shows Jane Pilgrim as a supporter of the Green party candidate in local elections. The person she is supporting lives at the same address as Jane herself.