Interesting to see how the Government & the media have been getting in a tiz about public sector pay : BBC News – 9,000 in public sector get more pay than prime minister with “research” for a Panorama documentary BBC Panorama to air programme on public sector ‘rich list’ (newstatesman.com) suggesting that 9,000 people working in the public sector are now paid more than the Prime Minister.
I’ve worked in the public sector for most of my career – in education – and so too has my wife – in the health service.
We’ve noticed over several cycles, that pretty much the same happens to our pay relative to the private sector.
In times of economic boom, our pay has lagged well behind private sector salaries – when friends working for retail and financial companies have received whacking great pay rises, we’ve received a “cost of living rise” – usually at less than the rate suggested by inflation rates. Where they’ve received bonuses, we’ve received a memo, or a Christmas card.
It’s not all been bad though because in the lean times we’ve still usually received a cost of living allowance, where they’ve taken a pay cut, and reduced hours; and where we’ve had a memo or a Christmas card, they’ve had their ‘cards’ as well – and their P. 45′s.
So it seems fairly evident that public sector pay rises less quickly in times of plenty, and falls more slowly in times of lean. In the words of Talking Heads “Same as it ever was” (and the video’s at the bottom of the page – any excuse for a bonus Talking Heads video !)
So please forgive me if I’m unimpressed by the suggestion that public sector employees are somehow “fat cats”. There’s only one market for staff remember – and the difficulties that public sector organisations have in attracting top staff away from highly paid private sector jobs, during the boom times, are what drives up the salaries – they stay there during the downtimes because the staff are generally treated a little more fairly by their employees. Come the next boom, they’ll lag behind again.
So let’s wait and see what the public sector fat cats look like after the next set of bankers’ bonuses.
There is of course also the question of why the PM’s salary should be some kind of yard stick. I’m not sure this article’s the best place to debate it.
Do remember though that David Cameron‘s much publicised 5% pay cut is a somewhat easy gesture to make for a man whose personal wealth has been estimated at around £30, 000, 000 Claims that David Cameron has a £30m fortune sit uneasily with taxpayers. So what is the truth about his money? | Mail Online . While this may be somewhat exaggerated it is certainly true that both David Cameron and his wife are of families with a long tradition of extreme wealth. Which once again begs the question – Austerity for who, Mr Cameron ?
- 9,000 In Public Sector Paid More Than PM (news.sky.com)
- BBC Panorama to air programme on public sector ‘rich list’ (newstatesman.com)