Thursday, 27 June 2013

The Public sector take another bullet for the team

Hard working Museum staff left without a good pay rise again

I was most despondent when I heard the Chancellor's speech yesterday with yet another attack on the Public
sector workers.

For another year our pay is frozen at 1% increase, which effectively results in a pay cut yet again as prices rise by 4% and rail fare could rise as much as 8% next year if we're truly unlucky.

I understand that the Public sector is often seen as bloated and in need of trimming but it always comes to us plebs at the bottom rather than the Sir Humfrey and fellow Mandarin types at the top. I have worked within the Public sector in various capacities since 2004 and have managed to get myself to a grade 2 position within my current organisation on a modest salary of £19,000 p.a which currently loses £4000 on train fare a year getting to London. At the moment my wage covers half our out goings with my wife's covering about a third and tax credits helping to top up the other areas such as child care (which allow my wife to work at all). With another 1% rise I find the family tightening the belt another notch and we start to look for something else we can afford to do with out. Thankfully we are not a greedy people and our luxury budgets are almost non existent and clothing comes from bargain basement shops and charity stores, my books are mostly second hand or free Kindle editions and we do our food shopping from Aldi.
Still the fear that it will become uneconomical for either of us to be working is constantly with us. If childcare prices do rise next April - and with Medway Council's cut of 40% to the nursery budget it is most likely, and/or if the train fare rises by another £320 a year then we are spending more than we are earning.

I find it disheartening when I look at areas of the Service and see the amount of middle management and project supervisors etc compared to staff with a ration of almost 1:1 in places. The Pyramid of power is now more of a diamond with a bloated middle management, who rake in up to twice what I earn depending on seniority, and then a small upper management group. Unfortunately when it comes to cutting jobs or toupee-ing out departments to a private contractor it is always conducted by this same middle management sect who get rid of us at the bottom.

Also, and let's take Museum's as an example, when you cut budgets where does the internal axe fall? The new exhibition they were going to install? The New Media touch screens? The high tech security system? Nope its the dogsbody stood at the door taking tickets or providing a security presence. Maybe it is the staff member in the shop or the cafe? Or in the Police force will the amount of Squad cars be cut? Will the chopper be grounded more often? Will it be the PCSOs and Coppers on the beat that will go - probably. People and families will suffer.

The Public sector is not what it once was and there are many of us on low incomes like teachers, museum staff, immigration staff, prison workers all working long hours for not much income (in comparison to some similar jobs in the Private sector) who are being asked again to go without or to lose their jobs.

We're all in this together but the MPs can still vote themselves a payrise!

Other sources of income have to be looked at and legal loan sharks like Wonga are likely to see families like mine turn up to get a bit extra cash just to tide them over to payday.

I sort of see the point about pay awards after longevity of service - it may not seem fair to many that after a certain amount of longevity in a job you receive a pay rise as a reward but when you are front line staff dealing with the public for long hours for little pay you should get a reward for making it to ten years or twenty or even thirty. The Civil service is the front of the government and we give our time and energy for not much money, to administer all it's menial tasks and for the benefit of the public. Why shouldn't there be a reward?

The nation forgets how much of their services are run by the Public sector and they do have a false image of all Civil servants having golden triple locked pay packets and pensions which is in fact untrue and the headline grabbing - We're cutting back our expenditure on Civil servants, actually has a massive impact on many of the nations hardest working and their families who are already on lower funds.

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