Our unrewarded Civil Service

Our Civil Service operates in a manner that is comparable or exceeds the international standards of first-world countries, which must be a great source of pride and comfort in these troubled times. This did not happen overnight but was the concentrated effort of many dedicated personnel over several decades with the last several years seeing quantum leaps in efficiency and modernisation.

This is certain to continue with the enthusiastic and determined leadership presently in place. Unfortunately there are statutory bodies or semi-autonomous bodies that have quite clearly not only missed the progress train but persist in sitting in the archaic departure station of inefficiency and technological indifference. They persist in drawing from a secure but overrated sense of tenure away from the efficient confines of the new government building instead of attempting to emulate the high standards within those four walls. Classically, civil servants exchange prosperity of the private sector for the security of tenure with the civil service. This is not an even bargain for the many who have by-passed the huge rewards of the private sector in the recent past. The civil service now faces cuts as a result of prevailing economic conditions that are in the round most unfair to those who have given so much for so little. It is unconscionable to reduce the personnel and income of civil servants when other areas of government operation are more in need of the cost reduction scalpel. The UK economic template now firmly pressed on our economic plans should exempt the core civil service for a number of reasons:

Our economy is different in composition and requires the support of the civil service to function properly.

There are a number of outside agencies and operations that could be reduced or vacated entirely.

There is a moral bargain that the civil servants, by enduring long hours at sub-par private sector salaries, have an entitlement without a doubt that is now to be smashed.

Pending resolution of the civil service pension deficit; there cannot be termination of members until this has been resolved by political will on all sides. Put another way, you cannot discharge your creditors until they are paid up.

In any event, the private sector should do the right thing by seeking to recruit as many terminated civil servants as possible to replace existing work permit holders. This should not be by word but by deed. The private sector should not speak from the rostrum of expensive homes in exclusive areas for the civil service reduction because they have seen the most benefit while their poor cousins in public service have received the least.

Peter Polack

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