Job Cuts and the Civil Service

I just don’t know. Bumper Graham and I appear often on the Nolan Show together and, well, we rarely hit it off. But, this morning, I actually got him to agree with me. Perhaps a voluntary redundancy scheme for civil servants mightn’t be such a good idea.

Anyway, what’s your view?

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  • The Raven

    You both had valid points.

    I have searched high and low for comments made by our current First Minister when he was acting as Finance Minister. They are from at least ten years ago. He was going to get tough with the Civil Service sprawl. He was going to cut it back. The economy was going to be rebalanced.

    It wasn’t, of course. My own point is, is that this should have been a long term and managed process, with several supports put in along the way to promote entrepreneurship and the notion of working for yourself. I would go so far as to say that this should have been a 25 year working strategy.

    None of this happened, and now we’re on a cutting spree. This will not end well.

    But you both had valid points.

  • Dan

    The only thing worthwhile is that Nolan has finally picked up on the scandalous looting of the budgets, £1.6 million a year, plus the cost to cover their actual work, to pay full time Union officials to agitate….
    The NI media have, as usual, ran from exposing that little nugget.

    ..and that’s just the Health service.

  • Dan, do you know what union representatives and full-time Union officials actually do? They try to resolve issues (such as bullying, harrassment, breaches of pay and conditions) informally as much as possible before then representing their member in formal procedures. Through this they save the time and money spent on formal complaints/legal cases which would vastly outweigh and cost. It is for that reason why many HR departments are fully supportive to union representation. Perhaps if such a mechanism was in your workplace there would be a decrease in personal cases/staff turnover and your business could save money in the long run. Still think it’s a ‘looting of the budgets’).

  • Isn’t that what Union dues are for? Union dues that are collected and transferred free of charge, at taxpayer expense, to the Union bank accounts?

  • barnshee

    We are talking about FUNDING the posts It is essential that Union posts are funded full time and not via “facility time” This ensures total independence The civil service is full of pseudo activists hiding from work- not to mention the crawling up the grades by former “union” officials who use the “union” for personal advancement

  • Dan

    I’ll not name the hospital or identify the specific job, but I’ve known a medical employee who has for years been seconded to Union duties….and a lazier bluffing chancer you’ll never come across in your life. I’d say it’s ten years at least now. Meanwhile, the health budget has to cover his role with another employee.
    I doubt he could do the job he was originally employed to do now.

  • Johnny Irish

    To cut 20k public service jobs is not the way to grow the economy. Quite the opposite in fact.
    So twenty thousand salaries that would be spent on goods and services are to be lost to the economy.
    It is the private sector that will suffer this loss of revenue.
    And of course the contractors who service the public sector will also suffer greatly and shed jobs
    And all to fund a tax reprieve for the corporates. They spin us the lie that this saving enables the corporates to create jobs. But there is no guarantee of that. With the global climate as it is the shareholders will see most of this saving.
    It is a fallacy to suggest that losing 20k will result in the creation of many times that! in private sector jobs. The reality is that it will result in a fraction of that. And all low pay or zero hours contract. It is a race to the bottom .
    Shame on the Assembly !. They have condemned this place to a low wage mecca with high unemployment and high welfare dependency!

  • Brian O’Neill

    I have some friends who plan to take up the redundancy offer. Many have
    plans to start their own businesses, work for themselves or get another
    job. This is a voluntary redundancy scheme so it stands to reason you
    would not apply for it unless you had a plan to do something else.

    This has the potential to create thousands of new companies which can only be a good thing for the economy.

    The downside will be:

    -The best staff will leave as they know they can get work elsewhere. The unless staff will stay as they know they are unemployable elsewhere.

    -The existing staff will have an increased workload leading to more stress, more sick leave etc. This is bound to affect the service.

    A good chunk of the people leaving will be nearing retirement age anyway so I don’t think it is going to be the economic apocalypse the unions say it will be.

    Some of the pay-offs are amazing. One middle ranking guy I know in his mid 50’s is looking at a package of £60k lump sum and £20k a year pension. You would be nuts to turn that down. I would not be surprised if the redundancy scheme is oversubscribed.

  • Johnny Irish

    As far as I was aware the redundancy packages do not include a pension. They are purely a lump sum with the pension frozen until aged 60!
    Perhaps your friend is getting out on ill health retirement !
    As for starting businesses , most of the lump sums will be between 35 and 60k. Hardly enough to start a business off !
    In my view most of those accepting this offer will simply pay off debts, or mortgage and have a holiday and a bit of quality life for a while!
    Those still in their 40’s early 50’s may well look for alternative employment. This means the job market will be flooded further and the 18-24 year olds will have to compete for the few jobs about with these experienced public servants. many with managerial expertise !
    there is no gain , just detriment to the economy!

  • Brian O’Neill

    Your argument makes no sense. Why would someone voluntarily leave a secure job to go on the dole? It is common sense that you would only be leaving if you had a plan to do something else.

    As for starting a business, these days all most people need is a laptop. Many of those leaving will go into consultancy, training etc

  • D99

    It’s very unclear how this scheme will work. If say 19k people volunteer to go, will they all be allowed to go, regardless of the consequences for service delivery?
    If 30k people volunteer to go, will the government make decisions about who can go on the basis of cost or service requirements need?
    Looks like there’s great potential for discrimination, destruction of staff moral (if you want to go but can’t, or if you stay and have a big increase in work load) and very negative impact on service delivery across lots of public service areas.
    Either way, the impact on the economy can only be negative – more unemployment, less spending power, a bigger welfare bill (when those that are made redundant have spent their entitlement), downward pressure on wages, and reduced public services.
    But I guess this is the shape of things to come, as they’ll need to make a lot more people redundant, or cut a lot more public services to pay for the planned corporation tax cuts – a plan in which all the major parties are complicit.

  • Reader

    Brian O’Neill: This is a voluntary redundancy scheme so it stands to reason you would not apply for it unless you had a plan to do something else.
    I too know people at the smarter and more senior end of the NICS, and they will indeed try to follow the programme as you have outlined it. However, since they are mostly experienced in making work for each other, and not too much of that either, they may not do too well in the outside world. They will be nicely cushioned, though.
    As for some of the rest – they are even more deluded as to their prospects in the wild. And that’s even before we get down to the ones who will immediately leave for 3 weeks in Turkey if someone offers them any sort of lump sum.

  • Julius

    There’s no way 20,000 people will voluntarily give up their jobs.

    Some will, but not 20,000, and those that do will mostly be those nearing retirement who’ll be gone in a couple of years anyway. So the borrowed redundancy money will be used to pay 58- and 59-year-olds to stay at home, when for more or less the same amount of money they could be paid to stay in their jobs and work until they retire.


  • Deke Thornton

    That’s pretty much it. Those coming to the end of their tenure at the high end feather nest will retire in comfort. The vast majority will see no reason to leave a comfort zone ‘job’ which has no obvious input. None of whom would survive in the private sector. Natural wastage and the high end pay-offs will mean a comfortable Patten style adage to the early 50’s in ‘ economically inactive’.

  • Johnny Irish

    It makes even less sense to pay civil servants off with a large lump sum then continue to pay them a pension (roughly half salary).
    Not much saving in that.
    They are paying them to bugger off !!
    A disgraceful,capialist, corporately polical concept. The NI economy will reap the pain by becoming a low wage economy dependent on benefits and welfare.(which Britain cant afford!)
    Soup kitchens and food banks are already here and established so we may start planning for poor and work houses!!

  • Nimn

    “However, since they are mostly experienced in making work for each other, and not too much of that either, they may not do too well in the outside world. ”

    For the more senior people looking to leave they will be restricted as to who they can take as clients for a time period. Other than the public appointments gravy train (and that is a Ministerial lottery rather than a merit based scheme nowadays) many will find it difficult to reinvent themselves as ‘consultants’ and their shelf life rapidly expires. I’ve met quite a few civil servants who were emperors in their own land then retired and thought everyone would want them to advise, only to be seriously disappointed.
    As you say they are nicely cushioned and will take solace in that.