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Wednesday 13 November 2002

Burning Issue.

As of 6pm today the UK's fire-fighters have started a 48 hour strike. Britain has turned to the poorly equipped Armed Forces to provide its emergency fire service.
As with most government employees, fire-fighters are paid poorly in comparison to equivalent private sector employees. They have demanded a 40% increase in the average salary.
Clearly this is not achievable. The Government just could not fund such an increase in salary costs.
The only real answer is to accept a more modest increase, coupled with an agreement to modernise working practises, and then work together with other public sector employees, employers, the government and, ultimately, the tax payer to reverse the gap that has grown between public and private wage levels over an extended period of time.
How would the Government fund such a massive increase in their expenditure? Firstly the British Public would have to be told that if they value their nurses, police and others as much as public opinion would seem to suggest, then they're gonna have to pay more for them. Secondly, the Civil Service is long overdue for an overhaul of its structure, working practises and bureaucratic. As anyone who's worked in both the Civil Service and private sector would tell you, Government departments and their associated organisations are wasteful, poorly organised, overly bureaucratic and full of ancient working practises that haven't been updated in decades. Money haemorrhage's out of it from every area in lost time, bad purchases and mismanagement. And in this environment, many employees do not feel inclined to give 100% to their job.

November 13, 2002 8:19 PM | Stuff of Interest

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