back to article Strike hits police, ICO and the Rev

The Information Commissioner's Office has had to shut its helpline today because of industrial action. Nine out of ten Metropolitan Police workers who deal with public enquiries are also out on strike. Police officers are covering the service, the Met said. A spokeswoman for the ICO said the helpline normally deals with between …

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Facepalm

"Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs is managing without 85 per cent of its staff, the PCS said."

Not the brightest statement when targets for cuts are being sought.

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Silver badge

Exactly what I was thinking.

Maybe they've just found some self-selecting targets for redundancy. On strike today? It actually looks like we can manage fine without you. Here's a box; personal items only...

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Maybe not for the HMRC bods

But it might show a way forward for everyone else.

If the UK tax regime was straightforward enough that it only needed (n x .15) the staff then it could be a good thing for the country as a whole.

ttfn

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Flame

It was a typo...

"Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs is managing without 85 per cent of its staff, the PCS said." should have been "Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs are mis-managing without 85 per cent of its staff, the PCS said."

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useless gits

why do they think they are so special? has anyone ever met anyone who works for the civil service who isnt a useless waste of space? how many could work in the private sector?

they moan because:

:: they might have to work longer until retirement - just like us

:: they have had their pensions changed - my last company did this - now i dont even have one

why the hell do they think they are these superior beings that should get better than everyone else?

i seriously have no sympathy for them. teachers get 3x the holidays i get and get good pay for the short hours they work (im expecting lots of 'but we have homework to mark' comments)

asbestos jacket at the ready

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Mushroom

Typical

Having worked in both the Private and Public sector I am probably qualified to comment.

In the Public sector I was no less productive or intelligent than I am in the Private sector and I did not suddenly morph from a waste of space to a productive team member overnight on changing my job.

In the Public sector, I did not benefit from Private Medical Insurance for me and my family, did not get a company car, did not have a company credit card and certainly got no bonuses, all things that do go along with my role in the Private Sector. I was a member of a final salary pension scheme in my last job in a bank and that certainly was gold plated.

My terms and conditions in the Private Sector far outstrip those I had in the Public Sector, but I do now find I work with more people I really could describe as a useless waste of space; professional managers who have read a book and think they have an deep technical knowledge, contractors who are in the business because they can't hold down a permie job and so forth.

Before you criticise the Public Sector workers, try doing their job, and remember that no matter how good the job you do is, you will have some prat like Citizen Kaned telling the whole world you are useless and should be grateful for the low wages you are given.

On the subject of Teachers, you miss the point, they have to plan lessons, mark work, run extra-curricular activities and don't get overtime for any of this. They are not paid for the time the spend taking trips away during their holidays or for any of the personal developement they have to undertake. You might also reflect on the fact that without a teacher, you might not be able to produce the spurious, polemic rant you posted here.

Asbestos is known to be a cause of tumours, try nomex.

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Thumb Down

Double standards

Maybe you would get mad too if you discovered that your pension is being slashed, but your managers are keeping their gold plated ones! There is an eloquent headline in the Guardian today pointing out that MPs are keeping their very nice pensions (they are supposedly public servants too!) while everyone else is having theirs slashed. Maybe people would swallow the pension cuts better if they actually saw the lords and masters sharing in the pain...

This of course ignores the fact that civil servants get paid less than their equivalents in the private sector (don't give me that crap about average pay, compare like for like and you will see that most skilled civil servants are paid less than skilled private sector monkeys) and that a decent penion is part of the contract that is signed between them and the government when they join. If I signed a contract with you for some work and then dropped the payments in the middle because I 'might' not have the money for the whole contract, you are going to quite rightly drag me through the courts in no time. Private companies get away with this because they pay lawyers to write contracts that can be used to shaft you, your fault for signing up to it! If they change the contract without permission, then you would drag them through the tribunals. Why should civil servants have less protection than you? A contract is still a contract and you should get what you signed up for.

For your info I have met a lot of civil servants who work damn hard and are pretty sharp operators. I have also met a few private sector dicks who are supposedly intelligent who worked in the public sector for a bit and then quit because they could not handle the pressure or deliver to the required standard. You should stop reading the Daily Mail, it is bad for you and makes you sound like an idiot!

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Big Brother

I'm not a teacher/lecturer or in the public service...

But, please, if you think that you can do a professional job of educating our young and want the cut in wages apply to become a teacher.

I've taught Adults who want to learn and that was tough enough. I earned every penny I was paid and I didn't have to do it until I'm 65/6/7/8/9 70 ------

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Anonymous Coward

Yes

----

has anyone ever met anyone who works for the civil service who isnt a useless waste of space?

----

Yes - my other half who I've lived with for more than a decade .... although, to be fair, she does complain that there are certain people who she works with who are totally useless wastes of space - that can't be fired without going through every single legal loophole (they'd have to be on disciplinary measures for months beforehand).

Then again - I've met plenty of those in the private sector.

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ok. i will bite...

public sector on average earn more than private sector - FACT. they also, on average, have better pensions. many people in the private sector do not even have one!

yes, SOME teachers do stuff out of work, not all. they also get weeks of holiday - i get 25 days and work 2 hours a day less than me (before the homework marking).

i dont get sick pay

i dont get a pension (old company folded in the recession) and if i bothered to take out a private one the odds are that i will die a couple of years into it. male mortality is around the 70 y/o mark. i will most likely die 1 year after i retire. yet im supposed to put in 10% of my salary (as it was at my old company after they scrapped our final salary pension)

why do they think we all have to work until 69 now but they dont? surely everyone is in the same boat?

@"In the Public sector, I did not benefit from Private Medical Insurance for me and my family, did not get a company car"

- fair point. but not everyone in the private sector gets them. and to be honest we wouldnt need them if the hospitals werent so crap. - DO NOT try to justify hospitals to me, my family have had so many issues with the NHS i could write a book and dedicate it to my aunty who died due to catching MRSA in a dirty hospital.

and for your information i do not get paid for overtime either. like many other people in the private sector.

you are obviously a clever chap but you are obviously in the upper echelons of the private sector. there are lots of plebs below you that would kill for a public sector job and its perks. the fact i know people who have had to miss a days work (either unpaid or using holiday) to look after kids because these people are striking (some of them on min. wage) makes me angry.

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Flame

Yet another ignoramus

who thinks that all teachers' work is done during school hours.

An average school day for a teacher is 7:30 to 18:00, five days a week. Add to this the marking, homework setting and lesson planning that they do in the evenings and at the weekends. Now add in the extracurricular pupil acitivities which they support. Now factor in that most of their so-called holidays are spent doing more lesson planning and extracurricular activities.

They probably work a damned sight harder than you do for less money, you ignorant troll.

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funny...

how a few years ago i lost my final salary pension when the first mini recession hit. i seem to remember that being a signed contract too. yes, managers should also lose their pensions, thats only fair, especially since they will be earning much more cash than the people who will be seeing the cuts.

i dont read the Heil (i wouldnt wipe my arse with it), i base all i say from personal experience. everyone is having it rough. i recently had to take a 20% pay CUT to keep at work as the business was struggling.

im sure there are some decent workers in the public sector. i just havent met any. and yes, we all know there are some fools in private sector, but most of them will be jobless very soon.

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yeah... riiiight

when i leave for work at 7:30 in the morning the local schools are all locked up.

i know some teachers who earn a very decent wage (well above national average) and work nowhere near as long hours as i do.

yes, some teachers might do lots of extra work. many other dont do any at all and can even make in school time.

you obviously dont agree with what you say as you are hiding under AC.

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Silver badge

and...

When did you ever hear of teachers being sacked for poor performance or made redundant in a recession or having to take a paycut to keep their jobs?

In any argument about pay you cannot forget their final salary defined benefit index linked taxpayer funded non-contributory pension schemes. I wish someone would work out how much that effectively adds to their pay, coupled with the 16 weeks holiday of course. There are many public sector workers to choose to take bit on but I think we need more numbers before singling out teachers as being particularly hard done by.

The whole problem with defined benefit schemes funded by the tax payer is that they are unsustainable. Given the plight of the economy, and the fact that all of these schemes come onto the Government balance sheet for credit rating purposes (i.e. taken into account by potential lenders to HMG), you face the simple choice of getting them under a control with a deal you can negotiate or, if we have to go cap in hand to the IMF again, facing a mandatory haircut on your handout dictated by the IMF. It is long past the point where we can just sail on with these obligations and I know which option I'd choose.

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FAIL

re: useless gits

"why do they think they are so special?"

Because its the culture.

Unlike the private sector, they have no incentive to implement lean/Kaizen/continuous improvement (see http://www.lean.org/whatslean/). In the absence of real world competition, they are far too complacent and happy to continue offering mediocrity, year in, year out. Continual elimination of waste to drive down cost? Yeah, they've heard of it....

Value is defined by the customer, ie the tax payer. Customer requirements should be paramount, not public sector employee requirements.

The public sector is riddled with non added value processes and activities and has no real understanding of how to turn itself around. If it was your business, there's no way you would tolerate such behaviour and attitudes.

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Typical (Mk2)

Dear AC,

I agree with you, even though I am on the far side of the world.

Been in Corporation , City Councils, County Council and Government Dept.

Dead wood, (or useless ) types in all of them.

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Vic
Silver badge

So the ICO's helpline is down

What effect will that have, then?

A slightly longer delay before they tell you they're going to do fuck all about your complaint anyway?

Vic.

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Devil

Just goes to show....

How many of them we can do without!

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Go

So, no-one important, then?

Might make people wonder how much government we really need.

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FAIL

HMRC

Outside the Inland Revenue offices in Edinburgh there was a three person picket line this morning which they had set up across a choke point on the pavement between the tram works and their offices which meant that everybody walking past in both directions to cross the picket line, pretty much in single file. The strikers did look rather scared and confused and had abandoned their post by lunch time.

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Devil

Yeah ...

I always worry that if I go on strike, people will realise I'm not that useful anyway.

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jai
Silver badge

unions

I wish my industry had unions that could tell us all to strike and stay home when it's a nice sunny day.

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Mushroom

Get it right.....

Clearly you are unaware of how unions work... the membership votes on proposals... they don't just up and tell the membership to strike... the date is the only thing fixed by the union hierarchy, and if they have the insight to pick a sunny day so far ahead maybe they should be running the country!!!

I wonder at the stupidity at some, they clearly have no understanding of the things they comment on - probably daily fail readers blindly believing all they are fed. The average CS Pension is far from Gold plated (apart from those at the top - as usual) and there are more than enough people earning below £20k per year. Like the cuts to benefits and the lack of any real effort to bring corporate tax dodging under control this is typical of the party in power. Decisions taken by people who have never had to live on the sort of incomes they say can absorb this constant draining by ever increasing fees and taxations.

As someone who doesn't work in the public sector - nor have I ever - I am disgusted by the amount of air time given to the rant about the public liability to pay for the pensions. The reason for this liability is that the contributions are spent by the exchequer on receipt. any Private fund that did that would be closed down. If successive Governments had invested contributions as they should have done there would be no liability above the usual employers.

The increases are more about clearing up the mess made my the politicians city mates, the ones that apparently still deserve mega bonuses while the rest of us pull in our belts and look forward to working until we are enfeebled.

Tine for the working man to stand up for himself. Oh and a word about striking teachers. Remember they have families too that will be affected. School is not a child minding service.

So more pension contributions while repaying higher student loan fees and saving for ridiculously inflated house prices... I feel sorry for the kids coming through now... its bad enough for adults working now! what a great legacy!

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Mushroom

Plus not all public sector pensions work the same way

For instance the local government scheme isn't non-contributory: we pay a large sum in each month, much more than the civil service scheme for a given salary level.

It's got a proper pension fund, and is well-funded for the future.

It's already been reviewed and altered to our disadvantage a couple of years ago so we pay in more and get less, and retire later (and we always retired at normal retirement age, not early like some service - NB there's usually a good reason for those early retirement ages: think firemen, cops). All this was done to ensure it was properly funded, not a drain on the taxpayer, and to take into account extra longevity etc etc blah...

Yet it's still in the firing line this time around.

So where's the justice?

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Moan, moan, public sector has it so hard

I don't see them resigning in droves for the milk and honey to be had out here in the real world. Why's that then? Hmm?

Aaaanyway, more power to 'em, and keep those bleeding heart bleats about being overworked coming while your department runs just fine on 10% of its usual staff and nobody else notices a difference.

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Pension

Just because private sector staff got treated badly and lost pensions it's not reason to inflict the same on public workers.

I used to be a "Civil Servant" and the Pension was THE attractive element of the job which absolutely paid less than in the Private Sector. We had leaving dos every week for people who'd got their exact same job in the private sector on double or more the money and the agency I worked for was forced to rush in a new technical pay grade to slow down the exodus.

Pay never caught up but the pension was the sweetener.

Most areas of the Public sector are very much understaffed, underfunded and underpaid these days yet the media attacks them ever time they exercise their right to strike.

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Unhappy

Pension

Have to agree with all the civil servants and ex civil servants on here.

I’ve also worked in both and my wife works in sales for a corporate so I get to see what her terms and conditions are. So some observations.

I get a reasonable rate of pay for what I do BUT it is less than I would get in the private sector. And its not a FACT that the public sector is paid more than the private sector. If you compare the professions in both sectors I’d bet my bolloxs that a lawyer or an accountant or a IT professional, etc working in the publics sector will earn less than the equivalent in the private sector, FACT. This FACT that the pubic sector earns more comes about because a lot of low paid public sector workers, cleaners etc have all been outsourced over to the private sector so skewing the overall stats somewhat.

I get my salary, which I have said is reasonable and I get a good petition. I do not get, share options, company car, health care, bonuses, all of which my wife gets working for a corporate, plus she gets a good pensions as well. Oh I do get an extra 2.5 days public holidays so lucky old me.

The proposed changes in contributions will cost me around an extra £1000 year, plus no pay award for 2 years. I think the government have missed a trick with this they would have been better off reducing the employer’s contribution rather than increasing workers contributions. I pay 1.5% and my employer pays something like 22% in to my pension. I’d rather have the money now, I might not live to 65 so I don’t really fancy the extra 3% contribution I’m likely to have to make, where as I’d stomach a reduction to say 20% by my employer.

When times are good the private sector does very well, nice big 5% pay rises and us in the public sector get our 2.5% pay rises, but we have our pensions. Once they go and the economy picks up we’ll still be getting 2.5% and the private sector will get their 5% and bonuses, etc and the pay gap will widen again, but we won’t have our pensions.

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Anonymous Coward

Oh....

Yes, but the employers contribution is nothing. Not in cash. The employees contribution being increased is cash now.

In any case, the tax concessions on private pension cost the gov over 37 billion pounds in one tax year......

"The fact is that public sector pensions are more efficient than private sector pensions. A group of leading economists said in a letter to The Guardian on 10 March that: The net cost of paying public sector pensions in 2009/10 was a little under £4 billion. The cost of providing tax relief to the one per cent of those earning more than £150,000 is more than twice as much."

http://www.dailyfinance.co.uk/2011/06/29/pension-scare-tactics-don-t-add-up/

I think I'll notice when the NHS goes private, or largely so.

I do not think I'll notice, or care, if 650 self-serving, selfish and crooked MP's walked out and stayed out: Forever.

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Public Sector earn more than Private Sector - 'fact'?

Only on dodgy statistics. Compare like-for-like, say a teacher in a private school and a teacher in a state school, and you'll find this isn't the case. There are a lot of high earners in 'the public sector' because there aren't 'private sector' equivalents - like Judges and GPs, for example. That will bump up an 'average' figure, but will be pretty meaningless. Start comparing apples with apples, not with oranges.

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IT Angle

However, IT-related jobs..

are in demand in both the public and private sectors. There is no denying that for a given IT job, you will find a higher salary offered in the private sector. Technician jobs at my county council start at a little over £11k.

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Joke

Don't worry. Mandarins have it covered

1 - informal instruction

While there are no incentives to get the job or decision right on the first attempt and no penalties for getting the job/decision wrong on multiple attempts you will get the job/decision wrong as frequently as possible.

This will ensure that any shortfalls in work loads are adequately covered by increases in re-work.

Such an increase will ensure that official key performance indicators suggest that everyone has an increased workload while in fact the volume of original work decreases (we have managed to get KPIs NOT to include rework)

It is your duty and responsibilities to your team and colleagues to ensure that the increase in rework and therefore your inaccurate observations on job/decision increase proportionately whilever the coalition is in power.

2 - comments have been made that national/regional/local governments should not be employers as it compromises national/regional/local government in responsibilities regarding setting and maintaining standards, observing the will of electorate and elected.

This is all for the good. We have struggled for years to maintain and manage this remarkable state of affairs but do give it the trivial talk-down put down.

It is important NOT to attract too much attention to how we operate this wonderful gift given us.

We are rapidly changing decision approvers from skilled and knowledgeable people to less skilled and less knowledgeable, It is in all of our interests that this does not attract too much attention.

Enjoy your day off and upon your return your Mandarins will expect you to uphold the above.

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Mushroom

preaching from a position of ignorance?

Clearly you don't work on the "front line" where unrealistic targets are set for staff to meet, while struggling with outdated systems and software. There are real penalties for *under-performance" for those at the sharp end who suffer the ill informed decisions of those who have never actually done the job on the first place and are thus ill equipped to be leading.

Just one example is where an inquiry requires a "hand off" because the initial point of contact doesn't have access to the correct system / is not of sufficient grade to handle the inquiry, this still gets counted as a negative. The staff being penalised for a failure in the system itself.

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Silver badge
FAIL

How to lose any support you might have had...

Publicise it would make the taxman's life better.

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Devil

"Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs is managing without 85 per cent of its staff, the PCS said."

The penny drops for Revenue and Customs, and 85% of its workforce becomes redundant.

I think they protest too much ;)

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