Public Sector Pain
A last guest post before Christmas and this one sums up how many public sector workers are feeling at the moment.
We couldn’t have put it better ourselves:
For the last few months I, like many others, have had to put up with abuse from the public and press about cuts to council services. I work in local government, in the corporate centre, and it’s my job to keep people informed.
The whole world it seems has an issue with people in the public sector. The government think we could do things better, with a lot less money. The private sector thinks we’re overpaid, over-resourced and over-pensioned. And we all know what the Daily Mail thinks.
Most of the abuse isn’t personal and I don’t take it personally. But people say it without giving any thought to my situation, any hint of empathy or interest in whether or not I (or thousands of others) might be directly affected.
Take the cuts debate. Colleagues recently received a tirade of personal abuse for attending an awards ceremony. How can councils make cuts to services and then send officers off to fancy awards dinners? The answer is that they don’t.
1. It wasn’t fancy, it was down the road. 2. The council didn’t (and wouldn’t) pay, so they paid for themselves.
So we got to do a difficult job, working very long hours, to deliver some tough service changes at the behest of the democratically elected representatives we serve. Hours for which we don’t get paid or even get the time back (this is the public sector after all).
And all we get is abuse. “What do you know about cuts!” say the anti-cuts campaigners. “You don’t know how it feels.” They tweet. Oh don’t we?
We’ve already lost 25% of our team. 1,500 staff from my council in one year.
This week me and many of my closest colleagues will compete against each for our own jobs. There are fewer jobs than people, because that’s the world we live in. We’ve been facing this uncertainty for a year now, but it hasn’t stopped us doing our job and doing it well.
You see most of the people campaigning against our cuts (and in some cases they are probably right) are in jobs, or choose not to work, or work for themselves. They are not in our boat. Or on our wavelength. So they have no right to get personal.
They also think that service reductions or changes only affect THEM. They don’t ever stop and consider the real people working behind the council façade, pulling out all the stops to keep services running whilst under the constant threat of redundancy.
We’re not in the public sector because we can’t get a job in the private sector, we’re here because we choose to be.
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