Page 3 of 4

Re: Public Sector Jobsworths

Posted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 7:15 pm
by ian saunders
The pensions thing is basically going to be high for the next 10 years, then when the baby boomers all start dying the pensions crisis will resolve itself.

It's just reached a bottleneck at the moment because there are more older people than younger. The pensions are sustainable in the long term.

I really don't know where this seeming hatred of the public sector and the people who work in it comes from. They're just people doing jobs (i've worked in both sectors). The idea that most of them are just sat around twiddling their thumbs is nonsense.

Re: Public Sector Jobsworths

Posted: Tue Nov 29, 2011 10:12 am
by dj jedi
ian saunders wrote: It's just reached a bottleneck at the moment because there are more older people than younger. The pensions are sustainable in the long term.
Isn't the balance only going to get worse as time goes by? We seem to be doing all we can to keep people living longer. Hence the idea of the young supporting the old is NOT sustainable.
ian saunders wrote:I really don't know where this seeming hatred of the public sector and the people who work in it comes from. They're just people doing jobs (i've worked in both sectors). The idea that most of them are just sat around twiddling their thumbs is nonsense.
Because whenenver they're not happy about something, rather than talk to their superiors or look for another job, they go on strike. How many of these individuals do you think have raised the issue? It's all just driven by the Union. Have you seen how much misery tomorrow's strike is going to cause? 2 thirds of schools are going to be closed because of these selfish twats! And airport's are going to be completely overloaded. Ruin other people's holidays because you're not happy with YOUR job, yes that's fair.

Re: Public Sector Jobsworths

Posted: Tue Nov 29, 2011 11:55 am
by Thrash
ian saunders wrote: I really don't know where this seeming hatred of the public sector and the people who work in it comes from. They're just people doing jobs (i've worked in both sectors). The idea that most of them are just sat around twiddling their thumbs is nonsense.
Going on strike is hardly doing your job? If I decided to go on strike I'd lose my job pretty sharpish!

Re: Public Sector Jobsworths

Posted: Tue Nov 29, 2011 8:18 pm
by Double Drop
Well there you go, announced today on top of our two-year pay freeze, two more years of capped 1% rises.

Apparently the average civil servant would have to survive 241 years in retirement to earn the same pension as Francis Maude....

Re: Public Sector Jobsworths

Posted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 1:35 pm
by dj jedi
What makes you think you should get a pay rise every year for doing the same job? Again, in any normal career, pay rises come through hard work, promotions, and climbing the ladder. It's quite normal to get no pay rise at all unless you either ask for one or do one of the above in my industry. A 'guaranteed' 1% pay rise per year isn't exactly the end of the world :roll:

Must say though, after yesterday's announcements I'm more pissed off about the 5% rise in benefits and 50% house price discounts for layabouts. Why should anybody who's never done a days work be even ALLOWED to own a home? Utter cunts.

Re: Public Sector Jobsworths

Posted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 3:11 pm
by Beagle
dj jedi wrote:What makes you think you should get a pay rise every year for doing the same job? Again, in any normal career, pay rises come through hard work, promotions, and climbing the ladder. It's quite normal to get no pay rise at all unless you either ask for one or do one of the above in my industry. A 'guaranteed' 1% pay rise per year isn't exactly the end of the world :roll:.
One very important difference: people with 'normal careers' generally work to make someone else profit. If your company does well, you may be rewarded with a pay-rise and/or a promotion.

However, many in the public sector (I'm thinking teachers, police, NHS staff, firefighters etc) don't work to make someone money. So how can you judge if they're deserving of a rise or not?

Look at it another way: you work in design. Now imagine you're told that no matter how hard you work, how many extra hours you put in, no matter how well your company does, you will only be getting a max 1% rise over the next 4 years. Annoying eh? Now imagine that the option of changing jobs is out of the question too, as this is the same for ALL design companies. I guess that's what it's like for a lot of public sector workers now, and they do have my sympathy. Especially as most of them provide services that not only benefit society as a whole, but are essential to the running of society.

Re: Public Sector Jobsworths

Posted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 6:50 pm
by Double Drop
Beagle wrote:
dj jedi wrote:What makes you think you should get a pay rise every year for doing the same job? Again, in any normal career, pay rises come through hard work, promotions, and climbing the ladder. It's quite normal to get no pay rise at all unless you either ask for one or do one of the above in my industry. A 'guaranteed' 1% pay rise per year isn't exactly the end of the world :roll:.
One very important difference: people with 'normal careers' generally work to make someone else profit. If your company does well, you may be rewarded with a pay-rise and/or a promotion.

However, many in the public sector (I'm thinking teachers, police, NHS staff, firefighters etc) don't work to make someone money. So how can you judge if they're deserving of a rise or not?

Look at it another way: you work in design. Now imagine you're told that no matter how hard you work, how many extra hours you put in, no matter how well your company does, you will only be getting a max 1% rise over the next 4 years. Annoying eh? Now imagine that the option of changing jobs is out of the question too, as this is the same for ALL design companies. I guess that's what it's like for a lot of public sector workers now, and they do have my sympathy. Especially as most of them provide services that not only benefit society as a whole, but are essential to the running of society.
To continue the analogy, imagine that 710,000 design workers were being put out of a job at the same time.

Re: Public Sector Jobsworths

Posted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 1:05 am
by soopaslooth
This is a subject on which there are huge amounts of misinformation and dodgy rhetoric on both sides.

There is a strong argument for reforming pension arrangements - we are all living longer, there is no money left and there are cuts being made across the board. Its not realistic to expect no changes at all - even on top of the changes only a few years ago - and some more moderate version of what is proposed is probably the right thing to do. I don't think the unions do themselves any favours by not engaging with this reality, and instead trying to turn the issue into a "nasty Tories target the poor again, only care about their rich mates" class war.

But on the other hand the way the argument has been framed by the Government, the media, and people who get on their high horse about "lazy public sector workers with their gold plated pensions" is completely unhelpful, unfair and inaccurate. The question of whether pensions are affordable is continuously conflated with all the other sticks that are used to beat the public sector - our taxes pay your wages, you don't create wealth therefore you add nothing to society, they all do non-jobs and we should sack half of them, etc etc. This thread is a classic example.

People who make these kind of arguments need to stop and think for a minute. It is generally accepted that the state must perform certain functions, and unless it can find a huge army of competent and dedicated volunteers willing to work for nothing it needs to pay people to carry out those functions. The state is an employer like any other, and public sector employees are employees alike any other. This means that they expect to be paid for their services, and that the state/taxpayer should expect to pay them. Of course their wages come out of taxes - that is partly what taxes are for, to make the things happen that the public expects to happen.

The alternative is to live in a stateless anarchy - leaving people to educate their own kids, care for their own sick, dispose of their own rubbish, fend for themselves against criminals, no laws and nobody to formulate and implement policies, etc. Or to pay such peanuts that you get monkeys, and we end up with the kind of incompetent/corrupt government and public services seen in the third world.

Assuming we are happy to have a public sector and to employ people in it, there need to be terms and conditions, contracts of employment, wages paid, taxes collected, etc etc. There isn't some special category of employment where the employee has no rights because they are paid out of the public purse. This includes honouring existing terms and conditions, negotiating rather than simply imposing changes, and having the right to object if massive and harmful changes are made to those conditions unilaterally by your employer.

For me - I'm a civil servant at a Whitehall department - I can accept that I'll get a smaller pension that I had previously expected, and probably later in life. I don't like it but it seems inevitable. But what I do think is genuinely unreasonable is the sudden hike in contributions - and in particular the fact the government is completely unwilling to negotiate or make any concessions on that point.

I stand to lose about £100 a month off my take-home pay, and it isn't going into a pension pot with my name on it, or being invested on my behalf - its literally going straight to the exchequer to offset government spending elsewhere. Its basically a tax on being a public sector worker, and all the evidence suggests that it isn't necessary to make my pension affordable on top of the other changes proposed. I'm not on a 'fat cat' salary, I have a mortgage and the usual financial commitments, and I cant afford to take a big pay cut. Whatever the rights and wrongs of it, any normal person is going to kick off to some extent when faced with that.

Re: Public Sector Jobsworths

Posted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 1:18 am
by soopaslooth
As a more general question - if people are unhappy for their taxes to pay for things they don't feel they directly benefit from, even if it contributes to running essential state functions or making society work as we want it to, how far does the principle extend and who else should be condemned?

What about private companies providing goods and services to the public sector - they are after all paid by the taxpayer too, and don't generate wealth independently, so should they come in for the same bashing?

What about companies that receive tax breaks/incentives or other forms of state support for their business - this is funded by the taxpayer, so should they too come in for this criticism?

I don't have kids, should I complain that my taxes pay for other people's children to be educated, and for child benefit/tax credits/etc?

And I've never received a penny from the state in benefits so am I allowed to slag off anyone who receives any form of benefit, tax credits, income support etc, and call for it all to be immediately withdrawn?


My point is that the arguments about 'fairness' are nonsensical - you can always point to someone else and find an apparent unfairness. The Government takes money through taxation, a lot of which is 'unfair' (tax avoidance, the rich paying a smaller proportion of their income, being taxed twice eg income tax then inheritance tax/VAT/duty/etc on the same money, and so on). It then spends it on all sorts of things, some of which affect everyone, some of which affect only certain groups. I don't think its particularly fair for example that people on benefits can live for free in bigger houses than I could afford, and can afford holidays and other luxuries on the taxpayer. Or that the banks were bailed out while others are being made to pay, and then award themselves huge salaries and bonuses. Or that we have to pay £40k per year to keep each scumbag in prison because they couldn't be bothered to get a job and play by the rules. But the point is that these things all happen nonetheless, and are part of what a Government in a modern capitalist liberal democracy needs to spend money on to maintain a functioning society as we want it to be.

Re: Public Sector Jobsworths

Posted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 10:20 am
by dj jedi
I completely agree that civil servants of all kinds provide a vital service that the rest of us in the private sector can't live without (but DO pay dearly for - a quarter of our wages.) However I don't agree that there's no alternative if you're not happy. There are people queueing up for low paid jobs, let alone average paid jobs such as the civil service.

Re: Public Sector Jobsworths

Posted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 12:50 pm
by soopaslooth
dj jedi wrote:I completely agree that civil servants of all kinds provide a vital service that the rest of us in the private sector can't live without (but DO pay dearly for - a quarter of our wages.) However I don't agree that there's no alternative if you're not happy. There are people queueing up for low paid jobs, let alone average paid jobs such as the civil service.
I have no idea if it is true that a quarter of tax revenue pays for public sector wages, but it sounds quite plausible. The state does a huge amount to provide the social, legal, security, international etc etc framework within which the private sector can do business and we can all live safe and secure lives. It needs to pay for this to happen. What would be an appropriate amount rather than a quarter, an eigth or a sixteenth? What would you stop doing that we currently do?

There is a debate to be had on this, there are always savings that could be made and its right to challenge government to get the best value. But my point is that the argument always descends into insults and ridiculous hyperbole about 'sack the lot of them, we dont need a public sector', 'cut their pay by half', 'they should just get another job if they dont like it' etc. There's nothing unreasonable about people who work hard for a modest income standing up for what they had always thought was part of their terms and conditons, and fighting against a massive arbitrary pay cut.

And the absolute cheapest isnt always the best value. There are indeed alternatives to paying professional civil servants moderate wages - as you say, people are queuing up for low paid jobs. We could sack all current civil servants and replace only half of them with people from the job centre who we could get away with paying peanuts. But would you be happy for people on minimum wage to care for you when you go into hospital, to advise ministers on complex policy issues that effect you, to enforce the law, to make the parliamentary process happen effectively and maintain democratic/constitutional values, to teach your kids, etc etc? I'd personally rather pay an average salary to someone who knows what they're doing and cares about it, than to pay a minimum salary to someone who cant get anything better and might otherwise be drinking cider in the park. We need to reward people comensurately with what we ask of them and the level of responsibility they have, otherwise you will get the level of intelligence and competence you witness in McDonalds.

Re: Public Sector Jobsworths

Posted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 2:35 pm
by dubplate records
one thing I wondered may happen yesterday was whether the guys running the airports yesterday would do a better job than thosewhose job it is,aparently they did.
surely striking and not turning up for work is a sackable offence?

Re: Public Sector Jobsworths

Posted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 3:15 pm
by dj jedi
soopaslooth wrote:But would you be happy for people on minimum wage to care for you when you go into hospital, to advise ministers on complex policy issues that effect you, to enforce the law, to make the parliamentary process happen effectively and maintain democratic/constitutional values, to teach your kids, etc etc? I'd personally rather pay an average salary to someone who knows what they're doing and cares about it, than to pay a minimum salary to someone who cant get anything better and might otherwise be drinking cider in the park. We need to reward people comensurately with what we ask of them and the level of responsibility they have, otherwise you will get the level of intelligence and competence you witness in McDonalds.
I like your idealogy, but in my experience it's flawed. Example - the building trade. The arse has fallen out of it because of 'bloody foreigners.' The truth behind it is that foreign workers are cheaper, harder working, and in many cases more skilled. Would I rather have a cheap Polish builder plaster my walls than an expensive lazy cowboy Englishman? Yes please.

Re: Public Sector Jobsworths

Posted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 3:58 pm
by soopaslooth
I take your point, but I think the analogy is flawed. Firstly, civil servants aren't (despite what some people would have you believe!) lazy expensive cowboys. Secondly, there aren't hordes of cheap, skilled Polish civil servants beating down the door. And thirdly, in some areas (mostly but not exclusively less skilled/non-professional roles) the public sector already does make extensive use of (presumably cheaper) foreign labour. For example look around your local hospital - how many native English speakers do you see working there?

Re: Public Sector Jobsworths

Posted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 4:32 pm
by Thrash
soopaslooth wrote:I take your point, but I think the analogy is flawed. Firstly, civil servants aren't (despite what some people would have you believe!) lazy expensive cowboys. Secondly, there aren't hordes of cheap, skilled Polish civil servants beating down the door. And thirdly, in some areas (mostly but not exclusively less skilled/non-professional roles) the public sector already does make extensive use of (presumably cheaper) foreign labour. For example look around your local hospital - how many native English speakers do you see working there?
Answer me this then... How can so many council leaders earn a higher salary than the Prime Minister? Surely the PM is the highest civil servant in the land? Shows how fooked the civil service is from top to bottom.... Too many people in positions of power & influence feathering their own nests during the last government!

I can understand why the minions are pissed off but shit rolls downhill & it's always the person at the coal face who gets shafted first....