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Public sector
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hilltopgeneral


Posts: 156
Joined: Mar 2004
Post: #21
19-05-2008 04:49 PM

Dotcom Wrote:
HTG - please explain 'significant minority.'


Significant minority? Rather more than the odd isolated case, unusual individual or group but by no means half or more of the workforce.

In my previous public sector job I would have put it at perhaps 20% that were either unwilling or unable to perform their jobs effectively.

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baggydave


Posts: 384
Joined: May 2004
Post: #22
19-05-2008 11:12 PM

Hi Baboonery, at the risk of making things personal you may wish to save your stinging wrath for those who deserve it most - I am sure you know who they are!

Oh and what a complex subject - there are those who do it as a vocation, those who have no ambition or need to earn more, and some of the consultants that I work with who wouldn't get out of bed for less than a nurse earns in a couple of weeks. But then they would argue that they know their worth, and where the money is. And these same ?1000 a day people would look down at public sector workers and say they aren't committed etc for their ?100 + a day. Trust me I've had the conversations.

come the revolution and there will be a few people up against the wall.

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Sherwood


Posts: 1,360
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #23
23-05-2008 09:08 PM

I am not sure if Royal Mail is public or private sector

See this link:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7417634.stm

But I am sure that the Chief Executive deserved his remuneration of ?3 million.

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Ooperlooper


Posts: 104
Joined: Jun 2006
Post: #24
07-06-2008 10:18 PM

According to Royal Mail's annual report, they have an annual revenue of ?9.6 billion, and employ over 181,000 people.

The organisation obviously needs to make big changes, rapidly.

If you don't get someone with extraordinary management skills for a job like that, you'll end up losing a lot more money than ?3 million a year, and a lot more people than necessary will end up without a job.

I've worked in public and private sector organisations, and there are plenty of lazy and incompetent people in both, but for some areas of the public sector at least (e.g. office staff in local authorities) there is a problem that the private sector doesn't seem to suffer from - it being almost impossible to sack the underperforming permanent staff. If that problem could be fixed, we'd all be a lot better off, but I guess the unions are too powerful.

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brian


Posts: 2,002
Joined: Apr 2005
Post: #25
08-06-2008 12:41 PM

Part of the problem is the feather bedded pensions that the public sector gets subsidised by the rest of us whose pensions are going down the swanny.

Why do not the government institute say a 25% cut in all state pensions , it would still not be a level playing field but might partly help give the impression everyone is doing their bit in current crisis.

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nevermodern


Posts: 653
Joined: Feb 2007
Post: #26
08-06-2008 11:57 PM

To those who feel public sector pensions are so fantastic, why not get a job in the public sector?

No. I didn't think so.

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Sherwood


Posts: 1,360
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #27
09-06-2008 01:22 PM

brian,

Gordon Brown's popupularity rating is already rock bottom!
I think it would be political suicide to try to cut pensions!

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PVP


Posts: 271
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #28
09-06-2008 02:35 PM

Public sector pensions are now way too expensive for the population to support. People are living longer and a retirement age of 60 is just too generous. Not bashing civil servants, etc, just unrealistic to stick to a retirement date which was set when life expectancy was much shorter.

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brian


Posts: 2,002
Joined: Apr 2005
Post: #29
09-06-2008 02:55 PM

It may be unpopular with some but popular with others. I can see no chance of it happening but something needs to be done about Public Sector Pensions. Saw recently about 1/3rd of council tax goes on this.

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hilltopgeneral


Posts: 156
Joined: Mar 2004
Post: #30
09-06-2008 07:09 PM

nevermodern Wrote:
To those who feel public sector pensions are so fantastic, why not get a job in the public sector?

No. I didn't think so.


Whether or not the pension is sufficiently attractive to entice one into the job has no bearing on concerns over the affordability of such a system.

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Ooperlooper


Posts: 104
Joined: Jun 2006
Post: #31
09-06-2008 09:32 PM

Considering that only about a quarter of the tax that pays for local authorities comes from Council Tax (the rest coming from Income Tax, etc), the cost of pensions as a proportion of annual budget would be only something like 8%.

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Sherwood


Posts: 1,360
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #32
09-06-2008 09:51 PM

I think a third of the police precept goes to pay for their pensions.

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banshee


Posts: 13
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #33
10-06-2008 12:43 PM

brian - I suspect you're referring to a report by actuaries Hymans Robertson published earlier this year that suggested around 26% of council tax receipts fund public sector pensions, including police, teachers and firefighters. It's a controversial report and their analysis has been queried by other actuaries, but even if it were correct your suggestion that it's a third of council tax is exaggeration. I don't dispute that the cost of public sector pensions is a huge public policy issue, but inaccuracy and exaggeration don't help. And hilltopgeneral can't seriously argue that there is absolutely no relationship between the attractiveness of the job and the affordability of the pay system. The market for jobs in the public sector isn't that different from that in the private sector, and if the pay and conditions of a job mean it's difficult or impossible to recruit or retain staff then savings on pay and conditions may be a false economy.

With the RPI at 4.2%, pay settlements in the public sector currently average 2.7%, while private sector pay settlements average 4% - and deals in the private sector are almost universally for one year, whereas it's common in the public sector for pay deals to be imposed for two or three years, meaning that if inflation increases still further the pay deal in real terms becomes even more painful with no room for renegotiation. Nurses, prison officers and police officers all got an average pay deal of 1.9%. Nearly half the staff in benefit offices and jobcentres get no pay increase at all this year.

Yes, I work in the public sector - and I earn about 20% less than I did working in a similar role in the private sector, albeit that I will get a generous pension. I appreciate some of the viewpoints being expressed but there is some lazy thinking and prejudice being expressed alongside them.

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nevermodern


Posts: 653
Joined: Feb 2007
Post: #34
10-06-2008 01:23 PM

I also think that although there were some sound reasons for winding up/down private-sector final-salary schemes, an awful lot of it has been opportunistic jumping on the bandwagon by private companies who know they can get away with it. To then shout 'foul' to the public sector for retaining the pensions they chose to wind up themselves, and then claiming they're 'subsidising' those pension contributions, is frankly hilarious.

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hilltopgeneral


Posts: 156
Joined: Mar 2004
Post: #35
10-06-2008 03:32 PM

banshee Wrote:
And hilltopgeneral can't seriously argue that there is absolutely no relationship between the attractiveness of the job and the affordability of the pay system. The market for jobs in the public sector isn't that different from that in the private sector, and if the pay and conditions of a job mean it's difficult or impossible to recruit or retain staff then savings on pay and conditions may be a false economy.


I didn't mean that the pension was not one of the attractions of public sector employment, rather that the rest of us can still be concerned about whether the system is affordable, and given that we pay for it are quite entitled to be, without necessarily feeling at the same time that it is such a great perk that we'd like to work in the public sector ourselves. They're separate points.

I accept that pay and benefits must be sufficiently attractive to recruit and retain staff but am also aware that recent studies have suggested that average salaries in the public sector are now higher than in the private sector. I concede that there are considerations of mean versus median and distortions caused by the extremes at either end of the private sector scale, but on the other hand I would contend that performance expectations are often lower, working hours shorter and leave entitlements often greater in the public sector too.

Nevermodern, I think there is something in your perception but a lot of it comes down to the actuaries' hard maths. People are living longer, the stock market went through a period of sustained poor performance that hit funds hard and finally Gordon Buffoon put the nail in the coffin by removing tax relief on dividends. The cumulative effect of this means that an employer needs to contribute 15-22% of salary to meet the 'defined benefits' of 40/60 pay on retirement.

However, with most public sector schemes there is no pension fund - just an open-ended commitment, a blank cheque that the rest of us have to meet through taxation. And given that under Buffoon, the proportion of the workforce in the public sector, doing little for GDP, has rocketed - leading to those of us in the private sector effectively contributing as much or more to our counterparts' pensions that we can often afford to contribute to our own.

So yes, some concern is understandable.

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nevermodern


Posts: 653
Joined: Feb 2007
Post: #36
10-06-2008 04:51 PM

I take your points, Hilltop, but in my opinion...

Firms took pension holidays when the times were good, then used a temporary low-performing stock market to cut the schemes. You can guarantee when the stock market rises again, they won't reinstate those schemes.

All sorts of expenditure is 'open-ended', including the NHS. It doesn't necessarily make it unaffordable because it's not ring-fenced. No government expenditure is.

The issue of the contribution to GDP by public sector workers is a minefield, and ways of measuring productivity are a joke. For example, employing an extra teacher, therefore splitting a class of 30 kids into two classes of 15, counts as a productivity *drop* (double the cost for the same 'outcome'). This of course is nonsense.

I think the pension age will have to increase to 68 for lots of the points you've made, Hilltop.

I just think we've thrown the baby out with the bathwater!

And baby ain't coming back Wink

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