‘Comrade Newton’ ignores the fact NI’s best jobs are in the public sector

Introduction

Below is the text of a response to yesterday’s op-ed by Newton Emerson in the Irish News. The newspaper offered to print a far-shortened version on the letters page, an offer declined for the following reason. Pluralism means more than having a letters page; it requires meaningful discussion on a level platform. I am not suggesting equal space for a response to every op-ed published by a newspaper. I am, however, taking issue with the consensus on the economy operating throughout the press across NI and notably the Irish News, a consensus which is at considerable variance to the expressed policies of the political parties supported by the Irish News and its readers.

There are different viewpoints on the economy and how this society should work. A consensus viewpoint can be as ideological as a contrary view. I think that NI requires and deserves a debate which goes a little deeper than that of “CBI press releases and the soothing thoughts of bank-employed economists” and Owen Patterson, repeating the same silly point as Newton in today’s Belfast Telegraph (not online yet). Such dissenting views deserve an occasional airing. The economic situation we are facing compels discussion, and not some half-informed consensus.

A Response to Newton Emerson

Newton Emerson’s column in yesterday’s Irish News raises some important matters which are well worth airing in the current climate of cuts. Unfortunately, he seems to be looking through the wrong end of the telescope. Fortunately for Comrade Newton, his point of view is that which passes as the conventional wisdom among the local commentariat, that “herd of independent minds” which invariably come to the same conclusion.

The facts are not as clear as those presented by Comrade Newton and almost every other columnist and pundit when it comes to the economy of Northern Ireland.

The pay gap between public and private sector workers is typically presented as ‘pampered’ public servants lording it over private sector workers on one-fifth less wages. One has visions of civil servants waving wads of cash in the faces of shop assistants, bellowing “Loadsamoney!”

And yet, with one of those coincidental statistics that the commentariat do not highlight, the disparity can be explained otherwise. Private sector pay is 20 per cent less than the GB average for private sector workers. Public servants in NI are paid the same as public servants in GB. The disparity is with the private sector across the UK, and has nothing to do with public servants wages and conditions, except for one thing – trade union membership.

Most public servants are in trade unions. Most private employees are not. However, private sector workers who are in trade unions tend to have better wages and conditions, such as holidays, training and pensions. If Newton is so concerned about underpaid workers in call centres and shops, he ought to be calling for them to join trade unions, or be allowed to by their bosses.

There are other silly comparisons made by Newt, such as those made recently by the CBI. The employers ‘union’ has a habit of making misleading comparisons between the ‘median’ wages across the public and private sectors, and more recently, has been demanding greater curbs on the legal activities of trade unions to act in the interests of their members and, we would argue, the idea of a fair and decent society.

‘Median’ measures a simple midpoint on a scale encompassing the salaries of every public servant from part-time cleaners to the Lord Chief Justice. What tends to be missed by the conventional wisdom of the CBI and its spear-carriers is that wages in the public sector tend to be higher due to the type of jobs and the skills required to perform them.

There are twice as many graduates working in the public sector, in areas such as education and health and sundry white-collar occupations which require degrees and diplomas. The private sector in Northern Ireland is dominated by small businesses and the rise of less skilled service jobs as skilled jobs in manufacturing disappear.

Even attempts to conflate the ‘types’ of work are pointless. It is like comparing a highly trained and motivated PSNI officer with a security guard in a cheap uniform deterring shoplifters. Certain well-paid jobs are in the public sector because the private sector simply could not do it. These occupations require skills and the sort of dedication which one does not expect of call centre workers. They mean years of penury while being educated to meet the task. The jobs themselves often involve physical and mental risk. The rewards these workers receive reflect their specialised knowledge. That is why the ‘medium’ wage appears higher in the public sector.

The public sector is not responsible for the grim status faced by too many private sector workers. It takes some mental agility to assume that punishing teachers and prison officers is somehow going to make the situation of exploitation rife across the private sector more just or fair. It is like demanding that vegetarians be given diabetes because meat-eaters are more likely to have heart complaints. Or that BBC journalists take massive pay cuts because one columnist thinks that £21,000 is anything but low pay.

That is the view from the other end of the telescope. It is a bigger and more generous view than what Newton sees as “every informed speech, statement and article on the subject over the past six months.” Comrade Newton is boasting about his own ignorance. I suggest that he get out more and read a little wider than his comfort bubble, lined by CBI press releases and the soothing thoughts of bank-employed economists and ambitious, but underpaid, business hacks.

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  • Cynic

    This is just a union desire to have the same average salary here as in the rest of the UK – including London and the South East. That is a ludicrous position when issues like housing and transport costs vary so much.

    We need regional pay here – we are paying far more than we can afford for civil servants. That’s the bottom line

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Theres a new “Right” disguised as “Liberalism” which has emerged thru the Internet.
    Newton Emerson is an example.

  • Alias

    His point about comparing like with like is valid but he hasn’t provided any data to support his claim that workers in the public sector are not paid more than workers in the private sector when like is compared to like – and contradicts that anyway by claiming that public sector workers are paid more than private sector workers because they’re members of trade unions. Perhaps, but how about comparing like for like as he insists we should do and compare private sector wages for workers who are members of trade unions with public sector wages who do the same job. I suspect that if the evidence supported his claim rather than refuted it that he would have included it.

  • Glencoppagagh

    Bunting’s argument is completely spurious. The fundamental issue is why should public sector workers be paid more than is necessary to ensure the recruitment of suitably qualified people.
    Surely he might accept that, for example, the huge numbers of applicants for the PSNI is an indication that pay and conditions are excessively attractive.

  • Mack

    Not so new fitzjameshorse – Left-liberalism is a newer phenomenon than right.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberalism

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_liberalism

  • Ardmhacha

    “What tends to be missed by the conventional wisdom of the CBI and its spear-carriers is that wages in the public sector tend to be higher due to the type of jobs and the skills required to perform them.

    There are twice as many graduates working in the public sector, in areas such as education and health and sundry white-collar occupations which require degrees and diplomas.”

    Well if that is the case we may all just give up now, its unbelievable the amount of ‘balloons’ who drink their way through university while course hopping until they find the easiest degree possible to then fall in to a cushy public sector job.

    No doubt there are more intelligent people who have worked hard to get where they are but at the moment it seems that university’s are bursting at the doors with waster’s.

  • Mack

    According to this there is a 30% gap in salary levels in the public sector over the private sector in the UK.

    http://timworstall.com/2010/06/20/on-higher-qualifications-in-the-public-sector

    Then add in a 20% differential quoted in the OP between private sector wages in NI and Britain. Quite a significant gap.

    That said, workers in NI aren’t paying for this. English taxpayers are. Unless and until the Assembly takes over responsibility for public spending and raising taxes they’d be mad to question this arrangement..

  • Neil

    Even attempts to conflate the ‘types’ of work are pointless. It is like comparing a highly trained and motivated PSNI officer with a security guard in a cheap uniform deterring shoplifters. Certain well-paid jobs are in the public sector because the private sector simply could not do it. These occupations require skills and the sort of dedication which one does not expect of call centre workers. They mean years of penury while being educated to meet the task.

    Ahem. Aside from the highly legitimate point made by Cynic regarding the fact that a public sector worker in London gets the same as on in NI despite the fact that housing here is half the price and virtually everything else is cheaper, using a PSNI officer as your example is poor. Here’s why, I know a PSNI officer, an old friend from school who joined the dark side.

    Quite the opposite of what you suggest, this individual left school with a fairly poor set of GCSEs and went to work hocking white goods at 16. He applied for the PSNI about six times over the following 10 years and eventually landed the job, without having any additional skills, without having the GCSEs that would be required for a job in Next, without any further study and with more money in his pocket (due to the fact that he was working throughout) than most of his contemporaries. The public sector is packed full of underachievers who are there for two reasons, one being pay increases regardless of how shit a job they actually do, and the other the promise of 4 weeks sick time a year on top of generous holidays. Most of these people chase paper round an office, or drink coffee in a professional capacity, and do so for a wage that plenty of job seekers would happily take two thirds of and do as good a job.

    The public sector is not responsible for the grim status faced by too many private sector workers. It takes some mental agility to assume that punishing teachers and prison officers is somehow going to make the situation of exploitation rife across the private sector more just or fair. It is like demanding that vegetarians be given diabetes because meat-eaters are more likely to have heart complaints. Or that BBC journalists take massive pay cuts because one columnist thinks that £21,000 is anything but low pay.

    This just sidesteps the fact that pain will be felt all around, and half heartedly makes the argument that the public sector should be spared any pain while the private sector workers (those that haven’t lost their jobs already) should make do with pay cuts, freezes etc. because cutting the public sector won’t help those in the private sector (despite the private sector having already absorbed their share of the pain).

    Add to all of this the heartwarming fact that those exploited private sector workers that you don’t really care about mostly don’t even have a pension of their own, and over their lifetime will pay out a significant chunk of a years wages to pay for public sector workers to have their very generous pension and you start to see the real unfairness.

    Imagine that: McDonalds worker works a lifetime and pays through the nose to ensure a public sector worker has a nice pension, and that McDonalds worker doesn’t even have a pension themselves.

    The truth of the matter is everyone knows that the public sector workers would be out complaining at any suggestion that wages over 20k might be frozen, but the vast majority recognise that for what it is: negotiating through a hard nose unwillingness to take any of the pain, suggesting that everyone else should pay apart from them.

    Suck it up big fella, the gravy trains pulling out of the station, and some of you guys will be on the bru, but nowhere near as many as private sector workers, but you can console yourself with the fact that you’re taking money from the poorest people in GB to ensure you have more than twice as much as they do when you retire despite them having worked as long in harder jobs.

  • just sayin’

    It was neat that. The sleight of hand (or tongue). Using the same style as others of the political left (yes we are talking Eamonn McCann) you pull out some figures, intersperse it with some ‘facts’ and hey presto!!

    “Public servants in NI are paid the same as public servants in GB”. No they are not! Argument evaporates like the mists over the glens.

    Of course I am now being as guilty. Some are. But FAR from all. Think education, local government, civil service? Not.

    Think health sercvice. Yes (well, largely).

  • Oracle

    Dear Peter

    Whilst a lot of your points are extremely valid and accurate such as the disgusting unreported fact of disparity between mainland UK wages and their counterparts here in the North in the private sector.
    You have failed to grapple with or for that matter even address the perceived image that most people have in their minds that what Newton and his associates write is by and large fairly accurate.

    The total nonsense that the private sector lack the skills that seem to flourish in the public sector is complete and utter hogwash, the reason most of these “graduates” are in the public sector is because they were just too stupid to survive in the private environment so they opted for the safe cushy number of public service because the excelled in mediocrity.

    A university degree could be obtained by even the most backward chimpanzee in captivity let alone someone who was given 16 years of free education, so please don’t associate education with intellect because I have found most time they don’t go hand in hand or even walk the same corridors.

    If you want the most striking example of public service in dire need of major cost cutting and middle management/personnel clear out just look at Belfast City Council… “Nuff said”

  • Ardmhacha

    at least the queue at the coffee machine will be shorter!

    The government should bring in some sort of system to pay public sector workers based on the amount of uk citizens who are paying taxes to hmrc, they could have a top limit and low limit, review it each year.

    So basically when less people are working they will start to feel the pinch.

  • Neil

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1259944/Public-pension-cost-soars-1-200billion.html

    According to that every household will pay 47k towards the pension put for the public sector. Also interesting to note the fact that the average UK salary is 21k and public sector is 22.5k, which makes the two wages quite similair in UK wide terms, but given the fact that the average private sector wage here is 18.5 the disparity is increased, especially considering how some employees in the private sector will skew the results due to the huge wages the big bosses take home. But the NI workers are defo worth 4k p.a. more than private sector workers, plus the 47k per household to cover your pension bill, because you’re absolutely brilliant.

  • willis

    Well, so much for the notion that Slugger is a hotbed of lefties.

    “Imagine that: McDonalds worker works a lifetime and pays through the nose to ensure a public sector worker has a nice pension, and that McDonalds worker doesn’t even have a pension themselves.”

    Can we deconstruct this?

    Neil – are you really saying that it is the fault of some policeman/nurse/care assistant that an employee of a Multinational Company does not have a pension?

    Might it not be the fault of McDonalds?

    I think you picked on the wrong employer.

    http://www.mcdonalds.co.uk/career/crew-page/crew-page.shtml

    This whole argument is trite and superficial.
    Newt knocks off one of his sub-Littlejohn efforts and suddenly Peter is given the right of reply here.
    Not in the Irish News

    To me this points to the fact that we are off the pace. Maybe it is time that a few Trade Unionists got a chance to start discussions.

  • Cynic

    “disgusting unreported fact of disparity between mainland UK wages”

    …and Chinese will do the same job for say 10% of the salary and be happy with it. Its an unequal world and more can only be afforded if the productivity is high enough to support it.

    But if you don’t like NI salary levels there’s a simple answer which involves Ryanair and a suitcase – just don’t take more than 15kg

  • Cynic

    So are McDonalds customers prepared to pay say 50p a burger more in pension contributions for the staff?

    Thought not?

  • Framer

    I thought everyone knew economic liberalism was on the right. Statism is generally thought of as left.

  • latcheeco

    I always heard the best jobs were in the unions. Are these private or public sector jobs?

  • Damian O’Loan

    Perhaps it depends on what you are trying to achieve. As all the parties have agreed to a cut in corporation tax, even SF incredibly, and since the UK is becoming increasingly isolated from the EU, I would have thought that keeping wages as low as possible is logical at least. Competing in global free trade is not possible for NI, whose workforce offers nothing not available in countries with cheaper labour costs, under present conditions.

    I would appreciate if our politicians were a little more honest, however, and admitted that we will all work for as little as possible to maximise global competitivity. It is unfair to pursue a policy of impoverishing a nation without openly admitting to doing so.

    On the other hand, those private sector employees who want higher wages should not dismiss the positive influence public sector wages have on their own. If the situation is not fair currently for private sectors, bridging the gap downwards will only make things worse.

    In any case, the argument is meaningless in the void of any meaningful long-term economic strategy, something Stormont does not control, the UK has no response to and even Europe is struggling desperately with. In the absence of such, reducing public sector conditions would be better justified within the conversation on reducing the debt, rather than a debate on equity.

    Incidentally, I’ve found no better analysis of unions v capitalists than in ‘Strike’, a part of Last Exit to Brooklyn by Hubert Selby Jr.

  • Brasco

    this is a very Sticky topic…

  • Cynic

    “It is unfair to pursue a policy of impoverishing a nation without openly admitting to doing so.”

    That is nonsense. Its up to us to use our intelligence to find niche markets where we can be competitive. How do you think the Scandinavian countries manage?

  • Damian O’Loan

    “Its up to us to use our intelligence to find niche markets where we can be competitive.”

    I quite agree, but that is not the policy being adopted by our representatives. It’s worth looking at the Barnett report on this. It’s also worth considering how those niche market businesses are treated, as that’s really what is under discussion.

  • Oracle

    Cynic are you completey stupid or just trying to provoke people,

    you wrongly state that Chinese people will do it for 10% of the salary and be very happy to do it, there are people working in Northern Ireland for £187.00 a week less NI cont and Tax… are you going to try and tell me that your gong to get a Chinese national to do the job for £15.00 a week and be happy….. when’s that…. when he’s smiling for the passers by when he’s begging for food? or when he doing sexual favours for the rent?

    Most immigrants that work he for less are illegal and don’t pay TAX and they have 5-7 year plans to work like dogs and retire to their own country where the money they earned here is 20 times its value and they become very very wealthy people in their own country.

    Working to your capitalist plan there would be one or two thousand very very rich people and 5 million destitutues……. take your fingers out of your rectum cynic because you’re typing shite.

  • Progressive Unionist

    McDonalds Corporation made $5 BILLION in profits last year. They certainly should be forced to provide decent wages and pensions to their staff – as should ever other crappy corporation that makes it’s money from exploiting the hard labour of underpaid workers.

    If private sector workers had strong unions to secure a fair level of pay for hours worked, and if we had the kind of government that was willing to tax the rich (i.e the people at the top levels of the corporate pyramids of economically and environmentally exploitative companies like McDonalds) – thats the way to a fairer society.

    Not ill-thought out measures to crush the lives of working families in the public sector as Newton seems to advocate.

    A more equal society means everyone benefits – including those at the top. (One good argument on this is : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Spirit_Level:_Why_More_Equal_Societies_Almost_Always_Do_Better )

  • willis

    Not by depending on their financial sector certainly.

  • just sayin’

    $5bn on what turnover? Yeh join unions to raise wages. Lots did that in the private sector in the 70’s and what a success that was – just look at those companies websites!

    Oh forgot you can’t – they went bust!!

  • just sayin’

    $5bn on what turnover? Yeh join unions to raise wages. Lots did that in the private sector in the 70’s and what a success that was – just look at those companies websites!

    Oh forgot you can’t – they went bust!!

  • aquifer

    More money better security conditions and pension. It is just not fair, and it is also economic lunacy.

    It does not even get us great public services. Staff put up with idiot bosses because the salaries and conditions are good.

  • daisy

    All columnists who expound on how things should be done and what’s wrong with how they’re currently done should be made leader of us for a month to make them put their money where their mouth is.

    Emerson is just another in a long line of reactionary pundits who like to make a name for themselves by being contrarions.

  • Alan

    We need both the public and private sectors.

    You have to ask where would NI’s private sector be without the public sector injecting money into the economy through wages, We’ve mainly retail, rather than exporting businesses in that side of the economy. Cuts in public sector salaries will mean job losses in the private sector.

    I am quite appalled by the meaness expressed in this thread. We should expect all workers to have pensions, we should expect all workers to have good salaries for the work that they do, we should expect good holiday provisions, we should expect workers to have a say on terms and conditions.

    It is about time we decided to treat people in employment with respect. It is time that the private sector accepted more responsibility on that score, that would substantially improve the current disparity. The problem is that they won’t shift without prodding by govt and unions. It’s about changing business models to accomodate new conditions, not complaining about the progress already made.

  • Newton Emerson made several points and I quote with Peter Bunting’s response underneath

    “If Stormont made minor cuts to public sector pay it would not have to cut a penny from front line public sector services or fire a single public sector employee.”

    Peter Bunting ignores this point.

    “The £128m budget reduction announced last month could be funded by a 3% pay cut across the board still leaving public sector workers 20% better off on average than their private sector counterparts.”

    Peter Bunting ignores the first point and concentrates on the second point. For what it’s worth Bunting has a minor point to make; there is a disparity between private sector pay in NI and GB.

    “Agreeing to reasonable wage restraint would secure their members’ employment as well as protecting the vulnerable people they profess to care so much about.”

    Peter Bunting ignores this point.

    Every informed speaker supports the viewpoint that demand side economics has limitations.

    Peter Bunting purports to respond to this point and to challenge the consensus.In fact he wants to make it the centre piece of his article. I’m still looking.

    “The least painful option now is to bring public sector workers back down to the same level as the rest of us. ”

    Peter Bunting ignores this point.

    Selective or what?

  • Mick Fealty

    Thanks for that articles. It’s a shame Newton’s piece is not more readily available for the readers’ direct reference.

    Nonetheless, this is probably a much more important conversation than many which have dominated the minds of our commenters in recent times. And it’s one which our political class seems reluctant to take out into the open, possibly for the reasons Mack suggests above (they’d be mad to question the status quo openly).

    Even if there is some neat footwork Peter Bunting’s line is real and residual: in the name of equality: would you force the pay of high skilled graduates down to meet the level of pay of an unskilled office worker?

    When you peel it back to the core Newton’s is calling for a level of social solidarity, between those in secure employment and those in less secure ones. It makes good sense if everyone feels they are in the same the game and there is mutual benefit. But as Levett points out in Freakonomics, fear in the short term is a much greater motivating factor and than longer term benefits.

    Here lies the fissure – I suspect – between Labour’s apparent success (by front-loading a strong defence of the public sector) and Fine Gael’s apparent failure in the polls in mounting too broad a defence when, at a time of profound economic crisis, the motivating principle seems to be ‘every man for himself’.

  • Comrade Stalin

    To me it is the pension situation which is the single most unfair aspect of all this. People on low incomes who nonetheless saved diligently into their employer pension schemes get little or no protection from economic circumstances damaging the value of their pension pot, and many of them have been screwed when schemes collapsed. Until relatively recently, final salary pensions were similarly unprotected; they were great if the company remained in business, but if it was wound up then the pensioners all lost.

    When you consider that one of Gordon Brown’s early changes was to remove the dividend tax credit, thereby reducing the value of pension investments and accordingly leading to the subsequent mass closure of final salary schemes, you start to get really angry. This is an extra tax goes towards paying out gold-plated civil service and public sector pensions which are guaranteed to pay out as long as the Government exists.

    It’s not as if this stuff is hidden. In our local <a href="http://www.niassembly.gov.uk/legislation/primary/2009/niabill8_09.htm"finance legislation you can read the amounts being set aside for pensions. Year ending March 2010, the total payouts were £248m (search for “superannuation”). That kind of money is being paid out in pensions annually and the government has to make sufficient allowance for it. In other words, pension payouts are from a big slush fund.

    I am not inherently opposed to the public sector having a nice pension or a decent salary. Different employers, public and private, have different pensions schemes, and it’s something you have to look at as part of the whole package when you are taking up a new job. However, it’s not fair for the rest of us to be taxed in order to, ultimately, contribute towards a guarantee for their pensions that the rest of us would not be able to obtain in the open market. I would expect, therefore, that one of the first recommendations by the new enquiry into pensions would be that the Government should establish a separate pot of investments into which pension contributions are paid, and either offer the option of a good defined contributions scheme, or significantly increase the contributions required of those who wish to participate in a defined benefits scheme.

  • Otto

    Mcdonalds is a franchise so employment contracts are between local franchisees and their staff. How do any of you know the terms of those contracts? Is the claim here that an unfair return is accruing to capital at the expense of private employees? Has Peter looked at corporation tax trends and ten year returns on investment? How are private pensions working out at the moment Peter?

  • DC

    Well of course Mack – the other issue is the Barnett principle of state subsidy – were it changed the MLAs will be forced to ask questions.

    I think those types of changes may be coming down the line as well.

    But then what legs does the Assembly have to stand on when most of them there today were paid between 2003-07 to sit at an assembly that never actually met – cash paid by government to stop them fighting and to keep them sweet.

    Just proves the point that a world without capital is one that tends to be more brutish and hard.

  • Reader

    Peterbunting: What tends to be missed by the conventional wisdom of the CBI and its spear-carriers is that wages in the public sector tend to be higher due to the type of jobs and the skills required to perform them.
    Then why do Senior managers in the public sector bring in consultants to make their decisions? And why do middle managers bring in contractors to implement the decisions?

  • Silmarillion

    Another point that may be missed. In some cases it’s the English taxpayers who are actually receiving the services provided by the public employees who happen to be physically located in Northern Ireland. Public employees in Northern Ireland do not all entirely just serve the people of Northern Ireland, but also those of England, Scotland and Wales as well. Several civil service departments have processing centres / call centres etc. serving GB clients located in Northern Ireland (and vice versa), the RIR are part of a force protecting the whole of the UK from foreign invasion, an immigration officer at Belfast International prevents illegal migrants entering the UK as a whole and so on and so forth.

  • Silmarillion

    Oh and even in many cases where a service is entirely contained within Northern Ireland it serves the entire state as a whole. For example an HMRC VAT inspector who uncovers a fraud in Lisburn is as much serving the Welsh taxpayer as the Northern Ireland taxpayer.

  • DC

    Then why do Senior managers in the public sector bring in consultants to make their decisions? And why do middle managers bring in contractors to implement the decisions?

    Brilliant. Well put. Just brilliant – the workers versus the careerists – different thing altogether.

  • just sayin’

    “Cuts in public sector salaries will mean job losses in the private sector”.

    No it won’t. Cuts in public expenditure might. Reducing or halting pay growth will mean more jobs can be maintained.

  • just sayin’

    Great point. Looking more deeply, some public sector pensions cost lots and others less. Why?

    The way they are funded. Local governments schemes cost much less because they are funded. Their schemes represent the 5th largest pension investment pot on the planet. As its provided for and invested it costs less. E.g. their schemes take in more money currently than they pay out (£4-5bn last year).

    Other schemes (teachers, civil servants, health, police etc) are unfunded – current contributions should pay for currently paid pensions but they don’t. In a year or 2 the gap will be £9bn which comes out of taxation.

    Surely a lesson here?

  • Scamallach

    Peter Bunting: I’ll tell you my main issue with the public sector. It’s the complete disregard for that fact that their salaries are paid out of the state coffers and so when the state is royally fecked as it is now and needs to first reduce its deficit and second reduce its debt, public sector employees need to realise they are going to get squeezed. This is much the same as for those private sector employees working for a distressed company. The state is your company. We private sector workers have to shite ourselves about the future – join the club.