Sunday, 27 November 2011

Public / Private

I can't get my head around this public/private argument between the unions and the government.

Public sector workers are allegedly striking because they're unhappy with their lot. Why on earth don't they just do what I did whenever I was unhappy with my Ts & Cs - simply move another job, in their case preferably one in the private sector where things are so much better! The fact they don't speaks volumes about their actual Ts & Cs, which can't be as bad as they maintain.

I heard someone yesterday say that the average wage has gone up in the public sector because low paid jobs have been outsourced to the private sector. However, if jobs have been outsourced and the public sector has made a saving, the inevitable conclusion is that the very same jobs when performed by the private sector are lower paid, which makes a mockery of the unions' case.

Fat cat union bosses on large salaries and huge bonuses are moaning about the salaries and bonuses of fat cat private sector bosses. Why? it's not as if these private sector salaries or bonuses are coming from the public purse. It's not even as if the union bosses are in the public sector themselves - they are in the private sector too, despite their members being in the public sector.

What do these union guys want - the maximum possible numbers employed in the public sector (as I do) with a bit of pain for all, or employment for a select few - i.e. those who survive the inevitable job cuts - with better than average wages and pensions (which is what it seems they are prepared to strike for)?


  1. You've gone all Daily Mail again. Is it my memory going dim or can I recall that people in the private sector go on strike as well. And I have read your third paragraph three times and I still can't see your argument. As for "Fat cat union bosses on large salaries and huge bonuses" - oh come on.

  2. Alan: Yes they do, but they rarely hold anyone but the shareholders to ransom as the companies they work for aren't generally monopolies and there are alternatives - like BA.

    A number of union bosses have had employer pension injections of 40% of their salary. I don't even have a company pension in my current job and thus have a private one. However, when I did have a company pension, the highest employer contribution ever was 10%.

    Para 3 refers to their dilemma - a bit of pain for all and employ more people, or raid the public purse for the few, as maintaining current pension levels will definitely mean more job cuts than already planned, as the great unwashed ain't going to put up with spiralling public spending and ever increasing taxes to fund it.

  3. I am not going to wade into this argument, for I know I won't win it, but suffice it to say that I am a former public sector employee, made redundant by this glorious government eight months ago.

    I fought hard for my terms and conditions at the time, and went on strike and the picket line, to preserve them. One of the govt's final blows to me was to reduce my redundancy payment by 40%. I don't see that happening (and them getting away with it) in the private sector.

    As for fat cat union bosses, no. Ours received their standard wages and had to document carefully any time that was spent on union activities.

    This government has lied and cheated its way through these months. I was supposed to be able to get a job in the private sector, who would step up to mop up anyone made redundant from the public sector. Not so. I have applied for anything from shop work to jobs near my level of skill, degree and expertise (i.e. there are none in the north). I found myself applying for jobs here on 12k a year - That was the expected graduate starting salary when I graduated in 1985. I do not think that is an acceptable situation to be in. I accept I live in the north and the recession we are in seems not to have troubled the south much, Chairman...

    I moved a lot for work in my twenties and thirties. I don't feel that I should be having to try to sell my home in a severely depressed market, to go back to the rental market down south, for I would not get a mortgage now.

    Public investment and spending helps fuel the private sector. Public sector workers in the north have traditionally propped up the economy here, the private sector does not, for it is practically non-existent, apart from tiny SMEs. I could go on.

    I'm not going to. You can have the soapbox back, Chairman.

    I'll still be supporting this strike.

    My best to you.

  4. I'm a former public sector worker, now retired, and I'm wondering who is more responsible for holding the country to ransom, those working in the financial services, or those in the public sector? Speaking as a veteran statistic of the 80s recession, it seems to me that many of the recent cuts to public services have been driven by ideology rather than fiscal prudence. Thatcher, Major, Cameron - same old dough, different shape.

    As far as the forthcoming day of action goes, I'm 100% behind the strikers.

  5. Woman, Martin: Never been on strike, never will go on strike. If I don't like the conditions, I take my labour elsewhere. Had about 10 jobs and 3 careers. Currently on a 4 day week (have been since September), as my company believes staff would prefer that to redundancies (as they indeed do) - we all share the pain, top to bottom.

  6. PS - was made redundant 3 times (once I couldn't get a new job for 2 years and did some couriering and driving to keep body and soul together at minimum wage).

  7. Ah, there's nothing like a good old 'back and forth'. We must be careful we don't turn into the famous sketch, though.


  8. Martin: Nothing like strikes to get the old prejudices going.

  9. I couldn't agree more. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

  10. I am Woman, Martin, pleased to meet you!

    Chairman, it's not about 'liking' the conditions - as much as being fecked over by government ideology, as has been bravely mentioned by your faithful commentators - and having your conditions bleedin' changed arbitrarily, even tho' you've taken a worse paid job because of said conditions...

    I'd rather die on my feet than on a fat cat's cushion, but that's just me. We can agree to differ sans descending into a comedy sketch, I hope! x

  11. Woman - that's the risk you run when choosing to work for your government. It's a fact of life that governments change - as do shareholders and competitive conditions in a private firm.

    None of us is immune.

    I never supported the cuts the Tories won the election on, although I did realise that some cuts would have to be made, no matter the hue of those in power. The Tory cuts have been too hard and too fast, but we are where we are.

  12. You know I can't stand arguments.

  13. Alan: OK, let's sit and have one....

  14. It's always a pleasure to spend some time here, I have to admit! Even if it gets the dander up! I also try to avoid conflict, Alan, but it's probably impossible if you count the Chairmann as a friend ;) x

  15. Chairmann! A new, Germanic title perhaps! 'Chairman'.