Sunday, 29 March 2009

The Storm Gathers...

For the first time, the recession is no longer a dark cloud on a distant horizon. Last evening, we learnt that one of our closest friends is losing her job after ten years at the company where she has worked. I'm also having to confront the reality of the recession more of which anon...

There are now clear signs that a new storm of job losses is about to break over middle-income earners and it will be interesting to see how this plays out in the coming weeks and months.

It's also clear that job losses are happening in all sectors including the public sector. I know of a number of Councils instigating "restructuring" initiatives aimed at reducing headcounts. Now, it's also true to say that some Councils are looking to recruit more highly-paid managers. In one Tory-controlled Shire County Council, I understand that one department is seeking to double the number of senior managers (paid over £60k) from 7 to 14 while seeking to cut lower-ranked jobs.

The Conservative line on public spending is riddled with hypocrisy - Labour and Lib-Dem Councils are routinely castigated for the slightest financial infraction but it is clear that Conservative-run authorities are still seeking to recruit more and more highly-paid managers (many of them ex-consultants). Where is the Member scrutiny and analysis of this ?

Answer, usually, is nowhere at all.

The Conservatives will "sack" a very few high-profile senior civil servants, especially those who are unable to work with a non-Labour Governemnt but anyone who seriously believes they will do anything fundamental about senior management pay and conditions in either central or local Government is deluding themselves.

After a generation of Daily Mail propaganda, there is a widespread belief that public sector workers enjoy good pay and job security. For the very senior, that's true - for the vast majority of public sector workers, the arbitrary vulnerability is as much a part of life as it is for the private sector.

It's a shame the Daily Mail doesn't understand or want to understand that and neither, it seems, do much of the Tory activist mob.

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