Smarmy Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude moaned today that the cost of union time in the civil in the Civil Service had been "allowed to creep up" and needed to be "rigorously" controlled and monitored.
Speaking during Cabinet Office questions in the Commons, Mr Maude said the cost to the taxpayer of trade union time in the Civil Service was between £33 million and £36m.
But Civil Service union PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka (above) hit back.
"When the government's own figures show that our economy gets back between £3 and £9 for every £1 spent on facility time in the public sector, it is odd for the minister to again be overemphasising the costs.
"If ministers were serious about using union reps' time wisely and efficiently, they would look no further than the incredibly wasteful system a previous Tory government set up that means we have to hold more than 200 sets of negotiations over pay and conditions."