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 Public Sector Jobs - Redundancies are not the answer

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PostSubject: Public Sector Jobs - Redundancies are not the answer   Tue Nov 25, 2008 1:05 am

Having thought about this long and hard, I'm convinced that redundancies in the private sector are not the way to go.

Firstly, the OECD showed that we employ less than the average in the public sector
Secondly, in the present climate people losing their jobs would be given redundancy packages and then end up being on the dole. It would add to deflationary pressures and may not save any meaningful amount of money and would be a waste of their training and abilities.
Thirdly, public sector employees are not in control of the economy: the present situation is not their fault. Turning them into whipping boys is a distraction from the real causes.

I think that there should be a public sector wage freeze, and a lot of flexibility in terms of the kinds of work and the location of work people undertake, so that there is better value for money. I also think that public sector workers of all grades should be invited to suggest non-damaging financial savings that could be made in their services.
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PostSubject: Re: Public Sector Jobs - Redundancies are not the answer   Tue Nov 25, 2008 1:11 am

cactus flower wrote:
Having thought about this long and hard, I'm convinced that redundancies in the private sector are not the way to go.

Firstly, the OECD showed that we employ less than the average in the public sector
Secondly, in the present climate people losing their jobs would be given redundancy packages and then end up being on the dole. It would add to deflationary pressures and may not save any meaningful amount of money and would be a waste of their training and abilities.
Thirdly, public sector employees are not in control of the economy: the present situation is not their fault. Turning them into whipping boys is a distraction from the real causes.

I think that there should be a public sector wage freeze, and a lot of flexibility in terms of the kinds of work and the location of work people undertake, so that there is better value for money. I also think that public sector workers of all grades should be invited to suggest non-damaging financial savings that could be made in their services.

Agree there, though werent there a lot of waster admin jobs created during the Ahern years?
Can you tell me why admin staff in the public sector should have better job security and benefits than those in the private sector?
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PostSubject: Re: Public Sector Jobs - Redundancies are not the answer   Tue Nov 25, 2008 1:16 am

Public sector is a very broad notion though, is it not? I mean a bland statement that we have below the OECD average does not mean anything in and of itself. You need the specifics and I have not seen them. Take hospitals for instance, just for a hypothetical analysis. Say the whole sector is grouped as 'public sector' by the OECD. Imagine we employ 100 people in the hospitals and so does France. But say 40 of our 100 are administrators whereas only 20 are in France. Then all the statistics become redundant really. What you need there is not less public servants but less administrators and more frontline staff.

I'm not saying the above is the case, just saying I don't know.
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PostSubject: Re: Public Sector Jobs - Redundancies are not the answer   Tue Nov 25, 2008 1:56 am

[quote="Respvblica"]
cactus flower wrote:
Having thought about this long and hard, I'm convinced that redundancies in the private sector are not the way to go.

Firstly, the OECD showed that we employ less than the average in the public sector
Secondly, in the present climate people losing their jobs would be given redundancy packages and then end up being on the dole. It would add to deflationary pressures and may not save any meaningful amount of money and would be a waste of their training and abilities.
Thirdly, public sector employees are not in control of the economy: the present situation is not their fault. Turning them into whipping boys is a distraction from the real causes.

I think that there should be a public sector wage freeze, and a lot of flexibility in terms of the kinds of work and the location of work people undertake, so that there is better value for money. I also think that public sector workers of all grades should be invited to suggest non-damaging financial savings that could be made in their services.

Agree there, though werent there a lot of waster admin jobs created during the Ahern years?
Can you tell me why admin staff in the public sector should have better job security and benefits than those in the private sector?[/quote]

It depends on whether people are being paid enough in the private sector. Everyone I think should have the same, decent, terms to the limits we can afford. The problem with cutting wages is that people would lose their homes. The damage is done. Imo the best thing to do is hold the wages down, where they are excessive, until the levels are right.

People who are in "non-jobs" could be redeployed to somewhere they are useful.
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PostSubject: Re: Public Sector Jobs - Redundancies are not the answer   Tue Nov 25, 2008 2:55 am

cactus flower wrote:
Having thought about this long and hard, I'm convinced that redundancies in the private sector are not the way to go.

Firstly, the OECD showed that we employ less than the average in the public sector
Secondly, in the present climate people losing their jobs would be given redundancy packages and then end up being on the dole. It would add to deflationary pressures and may not save any meaningful amount of money and would be a waste of their training and abilities.
Thirdly, public sector employees are not in control of the economy: the present situation is not their fault. Turning them into whipping boys is a distraction from the real causes.

I think that there should be a public sector wage freeze, and a lot of flexibility in terms of the kinds of work and the location of work people undertake, so that there is better value for money. I also think that public sector workers of all grades should be invited to suggest non-damaging financial savings that could be made in their services.
They don’t have to be made redundant, in the normal run of events about 8,000 public servants retire every year, if we redeploy and don’t replace say 5,000 of those, we can over time achieve any savings we need to. Mind you “redeploy” is easy to say, but it’s not a word public service unions are overly fond of.
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PostSubject: Re: Public Sector Jobs - Redundancies are not the answer   Tue Nov 25, 2008 2:57 am

We can also only redeploy so far. I can't see marketing executives going off on a course and coming back as cardiologists somehow Razz.
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PostSubject: Re: Public Sector Jobs - Redundancies are not the answer   Tue Nov 25, 2008 3:29 pm

Considering that both my parents are and always were civil servants, I naturally feel very strongly about this. I fail to understand the anti-public sector sentiment in Ireland right now, and am quite offended by the idea that all public sector workers are lazy and worthless. The problem is rigidity; the number of staff making up each department may have been appropriate a few years ago, but we are in a drastically different climate now.

Probably the most extreme and striking example is social welfare. My mother works in Social Welfare, and they have been quite literally overwhelmed in the last few months as we go back to 80s-style queues of people signing on and collecting. It's a real problem, as the administrators, managers and supervisors are having to spend most of their time taking claims at the front desks and as a result administrative tasks are being neglected. By contrast, Revenue is bound to have a lot less work on its hands than they would have when the government was raking it in. So why not send a few of their workers over to SW? That's just one of many examples of a civil service which needs to adapt to the current climate.
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PostSubject: Re: Public Sector Jobs - Redundancies are not the answer   Tue Nov 25, 2008 8:57 pm

I`d regard that as an extremely good post.
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PostSubject: Re: Public Sector Jobs - Redundancies are not the answer   Tue Nov 25, 2008 9:24 pm

There are a number of easy things that can be done to reform the public sector without too much pain

1) Hiring freeze for admin staff (not doctors, nurses, guards, etc)
2) Redeployment of some of the more esoteric quango staff to where they are needed; Fas, Social Welfare, etc
3)Reform the pay scales, they go up WAYY to fast, and far faster than equivalent scales in the UK. The reality is that few are making do with their inflationary pay increase alone, many are going up a point on the pay scale as well, meaning that real increases are 6-8% per annum where inflation is now very low. Add the generous pensions, and the private sector does not compare well. We also have to remember that the affordability of housing is improving all the time, so no need for double digit pay increases any more.

I don't agree with pay cuts or with sacking vast numbers; this also takes money out of the economy when it is needed. Would be interested to know how many civil servants etc are queueing up to vote for Edna & his merry band of axemen right now
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PostSubject: Re: Public Sector Jobs - Redundancies are not the answer   Thu Nov 27, 2008 8:04 pm

More reform, to at least "benchmark" with the private sector which is only fair.

1. Private pensions schemes(as useless as the rest of ours are)
2. Similar hire/fire rules to the private sector and no jobs for life.

The problem of course is the unions but in general if we could make employment in the public sector much more like the private sector, and without the silly exams and subsequent benefits, we might see a more efficient as well as equitable system take off.

Apart from the specially trained front line staff, why do admins and managers have to have conditions any different to those in the private sector? There should be no closed shops. Workers and managers should be able to go between jobs without much bother. As I see it theres a wall built up. The public sector are inside the pale.
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PostSubject: Re: Public Sector Jobs - Redundancies are not the answer   Sun Dec 07, 2008 12:05 am

anmajornarthainig wrote:
I`d regard that as an extremely good post.

Thank you very much. Thankfully I'm not the only one who thinks it's a good idea: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2008/1205/breaking38.html?via=mr
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PostSubject: Re: Public Sector Jobs - Redundancies are not the answer   Tue Jan 13, 2009 6:47 pm

bounce
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PostSubject: Re: Public Sector Jobs - Redundancies are not the answer   Wed Jan 14, 2009 12:34 am

Pensions reform and high taxes might achieve the same result without pay cuts, much less psychologically damaging and strike inducing. Add in a three year pay freeze and we're done! payfreeze until they're down to private sector wage levels again, anyway. Don't know how long that would be likely to take.
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PostSubject: Re: Public Sector Jobs - Redundancies are not the answer   Wed Jan 14, 2009 1:06 am

They don't have time. Fire 15000 immediately. Put some money back to the people before the entire country closes down for good
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PostSubject: Re: Public Sector Jobs - Redundancies are not the answer   Wed Jan 14, 2009 1:34 am

While I'd agree that redundancies are not they way to go, something urgently needs to be done about the public private wage differential. From the pin:

Industrial & Services* Public Sector Differential %

Denmark € 44,403 € 40,952 -€ 3,451 -7.77%
Germany € 35,421 € 33,905 -€ 1,516 -4.28%
Ireland € 35,746 € 45,643 € 9,897 27.69%
Netherlands € 36,195 € 36,038 -€ 157 -0.43%
Finland € 31,995 € 28,569 -€ 3,426 -10.71%
Britain € 38,036 € 35,189 -€ 2,847 -7.49%

*(excl public administration)

It's gonna take more than pay freezes to fix that, especially since private sector wages are already falling.


Last edited by coc on Wed Jan 14, 2009 1:39 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Public Sector Jobs - Redundancies are not the answer   Wed Jan 14, 2009 1:37 am

I have the impression that the lowest paid are paid very little - it is the white collar side that is paid way over the odds. A woman on JD show said her husband had been a soldier 30 years and had never been paid enough to pay tax.
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PostSubject: Re: Public Sector Jobs - Redundancies are not the answer   Wed Jan 14, 2009 1:42 am

She must have the dumbest husband on the planet

Bring in the imf and fire the lot of them.
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PostSubject: Re: Public Sector Jobs - Redundancies are not the answer   Wed Jan 14, 2009 1:48 am

coc wrote:
While I'd agree that redundancies are not they way to go, something urgently needs to be done about the public private wage differential. From the pin:

Industrial & Services* Public Sector Differential %

Denmark € 44,403 € 40,952 -€ 3,451 -7.77%
Germany € 35,421 € 33,905 -€ 1,516 -4.28%
Ireland € 35,746 € 45,643 € 9,897 27.69%
Netherlands € 36,195 € 36,038 -€ 157 -0.43%
Finland € 31,995 € 28,569 -€ 3,426 -10.71%
Britain € 38,036 € 35,189 -€ 2,847 -7.49%

*(excl public administration)

It's gonna take more than pay freezes to fix that, especially since private sector wages are already falling.

Inflation used to sort out that problem. A wage freeze for 5 years , with inflation at ,say, 3-5%, was in effect a wage cut of up to 15% over 5 years.

Only problem is that inflation has disappeared. A wage freeze will have zero effect.

I think the government could balance the budget within 3 years if the public sector wage bill is cut and cut dramatically.
Cut the public sector wage bill does not mean cutting jobs.

PRIVATISE.

If the CIE workers are counted as public sector then privatise them. Now they are no longer public sector.
If Dublin Airport Authority of public sector then privatise. No longer the tax payers problem.

By privatising the public sector, they government can reduce the burden on the taxpayers. As all those newly privatised companies are now paying the full PAYE/PRSI tax and are now paying their own pensions, this dramatically reduces the burden on the PAYE sector because it is now spread over a much wider base.
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PostSubject: Re: Public Sector Jobs - Redundancies are not the answer   Wed Jan 14, 2009 2:24 am

expat girl wrote:
Pensions reform and high taxes might achieve the same result without pay cuts, much less psychologically damaging and strike inducing. Add in a three year pay freeze and we're done! payfreeze until they're down to private sector wage levels again, anyway. Don't know how long that would be likely to take.

Not exactly because we still have to borrow the money to pay the initial wages. That borrowing, although you will make some of it back in taxes, still has to be serviced. I'm sorry but public sector pay, particularly for higher paid public servants is going to have to be addressed. The crude data has been outlined above and this can be supplemented with thousands of anecdotes. I have two friends who have just finished marketing masters, one is working in the public sector for a major state agency and the other in a bank. The one in the bank is earning less than the public sector friend, coupled with this his pension entitlements are not as good, his job security is far reduced and he also gets less holidays. Benchmarking existed to bring public servants into a comparable position to the private sector, taking into account their security and pensions. It has not done this, it has allowed a cosy consensus to develop whereby public sector pay has surged, in many cases to levels above the private sector, coupled with the retention of the traditional perks associated with the civil and public service.
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PostSubject: Re: Public Sector Jobs - Redundancies are not the answer   Wed Jan 14, 2009 2:31 am

There are numbers and numbers. Also there are some areas where there is no private sector equivalent. Getting the numbers right is not value free. Take for example primary school teachers. (And no, I never was one, nor is anyone in my circle, nor do I have children at elementary school, etc.) In the ROI we have traditionally recruited from the top quartile of school leavers, in the UK from the lowest 20%. Our salary levels have indicated a respect for those who educate the young. This matters. By European comparison we have strength in that sector. Our attainment, participation and transfer to third levels are good. A conversation at New Year with a Conservative member of the House of Lords confirms this view. If this is one area where we have done something right, let us continue to do it.
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PostSubject: Re: Public Sector Jobs - Redundancies are not the answer   Wed Jan 14, 2009 1:33 pm

candide wrote:
There are numbers and numbers. Also there are some areas where there is no private sector equivalent. Getting the numbers right is not value free. Take for example primary school teachers. (And no, I never was one, nor is anyone in my circle, nor do I have children at elementary school, etc.) In the ROI we have traditionally recruited from the top quartile of school leavers, in the UK from the lowest 20%. Our salary levels have indicated a respect for those who educate the young. This matters. By European comparison we have strength in that sector. Our attainment, participation and transfer to third levels are good. A conversation at New Year with a Conservative member of the House of Lords confirms this view. If this is one area where we have done something right, let us continue to do it.

Primary education is an area we should protect and improve at all costs. Everyone should be able to read and write when they leave the primary sector. We should back the community based homework clubs, they make the job much easier for teachers, for very little money.
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PostSubject: Re: Public Sector Jobs - Redundancies are not the answer   Wed Jan 14, 2009 1:35 pm

All you need for homework clubs is small grants and the availability of premises. There are thousands of university students who will volunteer for free to help run them, as I did for a time when I was an undergraduate. They should mandate the undergraduates to engage in that sort of thing.
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PostSubject: Re: Public Sector Jobs - Redundancies are not the answer   Wed Jan 14, 2009 1:44 pm

evercloserunion wrote:
Considering that both my parents are and always were civil servants, I naturally feel very strongly about this. I fail to understand the anti-public sector sentiment in Ireland right now, and am quite offended by the idea that all public sector workers are lazy and worthless.
I don't think that idea is as common as paranoid civil servants think it is.
Most of my family.. my wife, brothers, aunts, uncles, work in the public or civil service.
And some now agree that wage cut is necessary.
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PostSubject: Re: Public Sector Jobs - Redundancies are not the answer   Wed Jan 14, 2009 1:50 pm

johnfás wrote:
Benchmarking existed to bring public servants into a comparable position to the private sector, taking into account their security and pensions. It has not done this, it has allowed a cosy consensus to develop whereby public sector pay has surged, in many cases to levels above the private sector, coupled with the retention of the traditional perks associated with the civil and public service.
True.
If benchmarking lived up to its promise there would have been massive redundancies in the public sector last year to mirror what was happening in the private sector (specifically construction).
But benchmarking was a con job.

For example,
As a result of Benchmarking, NUI Galway now has to promote 10 lecturers every year to professor. Whether or not 10 professors are needed. How does this make any sense?
I might want to get a promotion to management level in my company, but I can't until a management position becomes available which I can then apply for.
But in the universities they can happily promote people to positions that don't exist!
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PostSubject: Re: Public Sector Jobs - Redundancies are not the answer   Wed Jan 14, 2009 1:52 pm

Blair Horan was on Vincent Browne last night saying public sector pay cuts were a bad idea because they would lead to further private sector wage cuts which would lead to further demands for public sector cuts.. He viewed this as a deflationary spiral that should be avoided at all costs. I'm not an economist but, I'm not sure a little deflation isn't what we need now to get our wages and price levels down to a more competitive level. In past crises we'd have used a devaluation to do that, now deflation is our only option. Whatever we do, we need to get the public-private wage differential back in the negative. Point taken about specialisms which don't exist in the private sector, but I suspect they are rare enough.

I'm not sure I'd necessarily agree that privatising swathes of the public sector is a good idea, at least not now in the middle of the crisis. I presume the motivation for this is not just to switch the differential, but rather to create a circumstance where it is possible to slash and burn terms and conditions of the transferred workers. I'm not saying that doesn't need to happen, just that whatever cuts need to come will be even more savagely resisted if workers are also expected to be signed over to Michael O'Leary or his like.

Point also taken about the teachers, but still, they are very well paid and in an environment where everyone is suffering, I don't think they should be exempt. While I oppose the education cuts to date I note that teachers never strike over overcrowded classes or rat infested portakabins. The only thing that gets them on the street is their own pay packets. This is disappointing and suggests they have an overdeveloped sense of entitlement, for themselves rather than for the children they are charged with educating.

On youngdan's thread I predicted a 10% pay cut in the public sector this year. I don't think I will be wrong.


Last edited by coc on Wed Jan 14, 2009 1:53 pm; edited 1 time in total
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