Today sees a national day of strike taking place in Ireland by people employed in the Public Sector against proposed (although at this moment in time nobody has any actual figures to really argue about) cuts in public spending, i.e. wages and other areas like that.
Any and all public sector workers have taken to the streets to show they ain't happy with how things are being handled. Mainly they ain't happy that they might be taking a pay cut. Apparently pay cuts are something that should only happen to private sector people (which they have, along with pay freezes and massive amounts of people being laid off not to mention tax hikes and income levies).
It's a little bit on the scary side to be honest, that about 250,000 people in very secure jobs (it's nigh impossible to be fired from a public sector job once you get your permanent contract) with actual pensions (which they complained that they had to pay a little bit of cash towards compared to private sector pensions which pretty much don't exist at the current moment in economic crisis) think it is a clever idea to take to the streets and march and complain and moan.
I am going to keep this rant as neutral as possible, to ward off claims that I am only saying this because I work in private sector, but seriously these people need to cop on.
It is true that a pay cut would suck, nobody is denying that, but you have to be realistic about a few simple facts.
Fact number one, you have a job, a full time job, a secure full time job with an insanely good pension at the end of your time. You really don't want to rock a boat like that because compared to other European Public Sector employees you are onto a very, very, good thing.
Fact number two, the government is in essence your employer and they write the cheque that you put into the bank. Now there is a simple financial fact here, if your boss doesn't have money in his account when he pays you you won't have money in your account when you cash your wage cheque. Would it not be a wise idea to take a small pay cut now, in an effort to ensure your boss has money to pay your wages later, than a big wage cut later, which also goes by the name of "unemployed", due to lack of funds in the country coffers?
Fact number three, wake up and smell the statistics. People in the private sector don't make these insane levels of money post for post when compared to the public sector. Sure a director of a company might earn 120,000 but that doesn't trickle down to the grunts of a company. Add in that wages have been cut, frozen and people fired and you start to get an idea that the private sector has been dealing with this problem for while. Time to take some of the "fair share of pain" you are preaching in the papers and join us. One sector can't be totally immune to a Recession while another falls to bits.
Now, there is something to be said about this possible pay cut the Public folks face. For a start I reckon that there should be a lower bound limit that won't be touched. Grunt level folks should be left as they currently are. We are talking about cutting the wages of politicians and managers and the Dr. Drumm's (useless bastard that was paid crazy money to run the Health Board only to not run it effectively at all) of this land who make obscene amounts of money. Those should be first and foremost on the chopping list.
Nurses should be left out of it entirely (if you get paid to change and 80-year-old's dirty nappy you damn well earned every penny you were promised).
I have it from a reliable source (one of the lucky people out on strike today) that the money being saved by not paying teachers on strike today is 750,000 euro. That is a lot of money, considering in places like New Zealand teachers are paid by the hour (as in what hours they work, none of this union rubbish securing money for hours not actually spent teaching or preparing to teach) and the daily bill to pay teachers for that country isn't nearly as high.
Sadly though a little logic won't be applied to this situation by either party involved (the public sector or the government) and everyone will just be out for themselves to fight the good fight.
But to anybody in the public sector that reads this and goes "bastard", bear this in mind. A friend of mine had his working days reduced from a five-day week to a three-day week which means he is down two full days of pay a week. He could strike, but because he is private sector he knows full well that his boss will fire his ass.
Where was the strike to support your fellow man when that happened?
Overall though I say carry on, with all the schools closed because the teachers wanted their day in the wet and wind (that's right, it's a stormy day today) the roads were empty of traffic and I nipped into work in no time.
Apparently there was a 6KM tail back going into Newry today that RTE news reported on. A number of these cars were from the 250,000 union/public sector workers out on strike. Yea, that is one way to show you are low on cash and also in need of support from your fellow worker. The levels of sympathy are going to be low after that little story.