03 January 2011

Wishing our employees a happy and work free new year

The New Year will have started on a rather less than cheerful note for many public sector employees as local authorities prepare to reveal the full extent of jobs and local services cuts.

Tens of thousands of "at risk" notices have already hit doormats across the country, warning council staff their jobs are under threat. But union officials say they are expecting a fresh wave to arrive over the next two weeks as some of the country's biggest authorities – including several London boroughs – outline their plans.

The imminent cuts will be an early sign of the government's austerity. 111 councils have already issued forms that set out upper estimates of the numbers of staff they expect to have to make redundant, informing 90,000 employees that their jobs are now at risk. The remaining authorities are expected to follow suit in the next two weeks.

The coalition has argued that private sector job creation will offset job losses in the public sector and before Christmas local government minister Grant Shapps accused trade unions of "ramping up" stories about job cuts in local authorities for political gain.

Council chiefs must reduce posts by 31 March in order to start making savings in their new reduced budgets. By law they have to give staff 90 days' notice period to staff, meaning a nominal New Year's Day notification. However, the announcement of the local government settlement was delayed earlier this month and many councils who have yet to issue "at risk" letters are now expected to buy out employees notice period in order to meet the March deadline.

Sadly many people are bout to taste the realities if the government’s slash and burn approach to the public sector. What the Tories and their Lib Dem human shields have put into mtion goes far beyond what is needed to reduce deficits. This is more an ideological crusade against the public sector; unemployment rates are merely a side issue.

8 comments:

H. insciens said...

I am ambivalent about this. I see huge inefficiency and officialdom that is not necessary all around me (more the higher up you go, usually). Yet there is clearly much that needs to be done. In an ideal world perhaps we could retain and if necessary re-train people so that they were efficiently doing things that were needed rather than (so often) ineficiently doing things that aren't much needed. But this is not an ideal world. There again, we could also stop pretending to be a global power, have armed forces only for basic defence, get rid of Trident (Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Netherlands, Australia etc. etc. etc, seem to manage OK without it), and so on.... but then all the soldiers, sailors and airmen put out of work would be complaining. Political policy is a very clumsy instrument. I am ambivalent (and of course, I know nothing).

jams o donnell said...

I've seen plenty of inefficiency and time wasted on crass but cuts are one thing, destroying jobs and services on the basis of ideology is another.

H. insciens said...

Agreed Jams, but distinguishing sensible restructuring from ideological vandalism is not always easy, especially by those adversely affected. My own preferred policies (which the nation may give thanks I am unable to put into effect) would put much of the Ministry of Defence and its employees out of work (and I am aware that would not be popular with some who visit this blog). But I'd probably also put myself out of one of my own jobs actually, if I was in charge. So it's just as well that I'm not. I remain ambivalent.

CherryPie said...

Governments always restructure from an idealogical point of view. That is what they do.

Public services are needed for the public and ideologies shouldn't come into the equation. They should be run efficiently so that they can serve the public without excessive cost and bureaucracy.

As a concept the Ministry of Defence is needed (Defence is the key word). The department seems to step outside of it's remit (enter into illegal/unnecessary wars) but I suspect that is due to direction from higher authorities...

Also the department has forgotten what defence really means. That really worries me because it has left the UK quite vulnerable...

We are at peace and we have nothing in reserve if someone decides to attack us. It is the strategy of a peace time general who has never experienced war.

H. insciens said...

Well we agree Cherie, broadly, I think. Britain is a little nation with a vastly swollen ego. Even those who make use of that for their own purposes are really laughing heartily at our pretensions.

jams o donnell said...

I am mos definitely not ambivalent bout the the Government's vandalism H.

Restructures are one thing Cherie - bringing things together in ways that improve effectiveness of delivery are to be lauded.

Perhaps the Government is delusional in believing that the cuts can be delviered wither without affecting front line delivery (haha) or that the Big Society will pic up the slack!

As for the MoD, Our military is badly served, despite the huge budget. making bigger cuts undermines national defence but cripples our bility to act elsewhere.. Very unlikely that the Argentines would invade now, but the military could not now react as it did nearly 30 years ago.

CherryPie said...

with regards to the MoD?military the government have placed the wrong emphasis as has the media. That is why our military are badly served.

But also the armed forces commanders are used to peacetime and that is how they base their strategy. They need to think defence of the nation (from outside threat), which doesn't necessarily mean an increase in spending.

jams o donnell said...

One prime example is the run down of the TA. While I can't see a scenario at present or any time in the near future where we have to defend our shores, losing a vital element is stuoid and short sighted.