cscsLast Friday the Government announced plans to radically reduce the compensation paid to civil servants who are made redundant.  The proposals are published by the Cabinet Office and are described as “reform” of the civil service compensation scheme.  The proposals actually represent a cut in contractual rights to a decent redundancy compensation at a time when jobs are at risk.

PCS alongside other trade unions have been in negotiations with the Cabinet Office since last Autumn but nothing has so far been agreed between the two parties.  Despite this members were notified of the proposals in such a way that they thought the new plans had the full agreement of PCS.

PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka stated:

These proposals are a disgraceful attempt by the government to replace a fair, negotiated right to decent compensation with a bargain basement pay-off at a time of massive insecurity over jobs.

Following the announcement The Daily Mail published a grossly misleading article making out that the vast majority of civil servants receive a golden handshake when they leave,  which is far from the truth.

Mark Serwotka said:

Away from the headlines about bumper pay-outs for mandarins, the vast majority of civil servants live in the real world where pay is low and pensions are far from gold-plated. The real divide is not between public and private, but between low-paid workers and the very wealthy.

Additionally Mark responded to the Daily Mail with the following comment:

Your report about proposed changes to the civil service compensation scheme – Blitz on the £1bn golden goodbyes for civil servants - is based on a grain of truth, a great deal of speculation and a dose of prejudice.

The fact is that civil service management have put forward proposals that slash workers existing legal and contractual rights to fair compensation if made redundant.

It is interesting that these existing terms were introduced by the Treasury in 1987 and endorsed by the then Government led by Margaret Thatcher. If it was fair then why is it not fair now for civil servants who for years have suffered low pay and low increases on the basis that they have secure jobs?

It is also the case that almost 100,000 civil service jobs have been cut in the past four years. The vast majority of those jobs have been among low paid civil servants providing essential services in every community.

The stereotype of mandarins with gold-plated pensions is far from the truth. Almost 20% of civil servants earn less than £15,000 a year and the average civil service pension is £6,500. When you exclude high earners, the average is £4,200. Hardly gold plated.

Media myths about the civil and public services:

21 Comments CherryPie on Aug 4th 2009

21 Responses to “Media Myths & the Civil Service Again”

  1. jameshigham says:

    Cherie, I’m going to ask you a big favour. You may have noticed I’ve linked to your first post on this in my sidebar. In the same way as the sonus articles over my way, could you link your second post from your first, then the third form the second and so on, including this one as the fifth? I’d like for people to read smoothly from start to end.

    Pretty please?

    • CherryPie says:

      Oops! Sorry James they were at the bottom of my draft post and I haven’t added them on I shall do it immediately!

      I shall add the links to the other post later too.

      Thank You for reminding me :-)

  2. ubermouth says:

    I can’t believe[especially how expensive a country England is to live in] that ANYBODY gets paid £15,000 a year or less!

    • CherryPie says:

      It is sad but true Uber. Then you compare that to what the people at the very top are earning and the fact the gap is widening!

  3. jameshigham says:

    Have you noticed how, when you post a fine post like this, with detail, it gets three comments? You can’t comment on that, of course but I, as a visitor, very much can. :)

    • CherryPie says:

      I do notice that the posts I think are my best get very few comments. Then some of my rather daft ones, get loads!!!

      In your case when you complain you haven’t got many comments it is usually that you have researched the subject so well there is nothing to add.

  4. Phidelm says:

    ‘Grossly misleading article’ in The Daily Moron? Surely not ;-) ! This theme of theirs has been running for ages, I fear: stirs up the readership, hence the ‘legs’ (now that the rag can’t bang on ad nauseam about property prices they’re seizing on anything that shifts copy – ad budgets slashed to nothing and hacks biting the dust everywhere; DM hasn’t been using freelances for about 9/12 now, which marks a Big Change, believe me).
    The level of debate within their pages/online comments boxes is pretty much what you’d expect. And the paper’s treatment of the subject matter is on a par with the regular ‘female sleb has cellulite/toyboy/cosmetic surgery shock horror’ rubbish they churn out all the time.
    I’m sure more sensible and thoughtful people are aware that most civil servants/public sector workers are NOT especially well-paid. Pay is one thing; redundancy rights another – and I’d rather not go there (sore point, very). I have worked only briefly for a few different public sector entities, so my experience/knowledge = very probably insufficient to allow even a moderately intelligent contribution (always supposing I’m capable of the same!). And there’s always the possibility that these were not representative.

    • CherryPie says:

      The printed news industry is in a bit of a crisis at the moment, so you are probably right with the publish anything to sell copies even if it isn’t true syndrome. Sadly quite a few people in society still believe what they read in the newspapers..

      Freelance journalist are great, thankfully there are still a few around and they are such a refreshing read.

      I have only worked for the civil service which seems to work a bit differently from the other public sector bodies. I pick all this up from networking with trade union activists in other public sector fields.

  5. Ach Cherie when does a rag like the Mail report objectively when dealing with public employees. More lazy hackdom.. 490,000 civil servants working in Whitehall? I give thanks I don’t work there it sounds a bit crowded to me!

    • CherryPie says:

      You and I both know that but enough of the general public are taken in by the lies and spin!

      Campaigning in local towns is quite an eye opener.

  6. james wilson says:

    An employee of a business or, theoretically, of the state, is hired strictly on the basis of how little they can be paid to secure the highest qualified applicant. The employee chooses an employer by identical if opposite understandings. It should not be more cmplicated than that. Yet in the United States, government workers get paid more in salary and pension than private workers for jobs that in most cases should not exist in the first place. They are voters, and their families are voters. The state of California has voted themselves into astounding debt and dysfunction.

    The British civil servant who complains of low pay is not going off to gainful private employment for what reason? Either because he is not good enough or because there is not enough such employment after extraordinary taxes to pay for statists empires based on armies of civil servants crippling private enterprise.

    • CherryPie says:

      I can’t really comment on US government workers because I have no experience of that.

      Your comment on British civil servants is overly simplistic. There are lots of reasons why people choose to work in the public sector as oppose to the private sector. Your statement about ‘armies of civil servants crippling private enterprise’ shows that you have bought into the media myths.

      There is a place for both public sector and private sector.

  7. james wilson says:

    The media is the last place on earth by which I would form an opinion. The myths are all yours, cheri.
    And do you ever have a vested interest. It is difficult for a person to understand something when her salary depends on not understanding it.
    The mystery of government is not how it works, but how to make it stop.

    • CherryPie says:

      Putting aside the failings of the way that government departments may operate and also putting aside the evidence of greed in the private sector, there is actually a place for both public and private enterprises.

      Society stands to gain the most if some things are run as a service which is not for profit and some things are run as a private enterprise.

  8. [...] My original post on the proposals can be viewed here. [...]

  9. cheryl wolley says:

    I would like permission to reproduce the image of the wordle about Departments published on accesses 9 May 2012 at 13.34.It would go into a book I am writing with a colleague for teaching students of Aministrative Science English at Cagliari University Italy .
    I would be very grateful indeed. .

    • CherryPie says:

      I am not sure if the image is a good enough quality for a book. It is only a screen-shot taken from my exploration of words on the Wordle site…

  10. cheryl wolley says:

    Dear Cherry,
    Thank you for your kind reply. The quality is absolutely fine for the
    teaching book and it gives me the key terminology as I would put it before
    the chapter entittled ‘The Civil Service’. The book has simple reading
    passages and lots of exercises on synonyms, gap filling , comprehension, etc
    and your wordle would be perfect and nice for the students to see. Of course
    as I said full credits for your work would be given. Please let me know if
    you would be so kind as to grant me permission.
    Thanks again.

    Best regards.