Begorrah! It seems that the Irish public sector has made an enormous leap that our bloated, thuggish “civil” “service” seems to be reluctant to:
Good morning. Here is the news. Because of the budget deficit, shrinking economy and untenable level of national debt, all public service salaries will be cut by an average of 13.5 per cent, with immediate effect. The charges will appear on your payslip as “government levy”, and will apply to frontline public workers in health, education, transport and local services and also to MPs, Ministers of State and the Attorney-General.
Judges will be, for the moment, exempt, but a mechanism is in place for voluntary payment of this levy. So far 72 judges have paid up. No undertaking can be given about when, or if, take-home pay will return to former levels. The severity of this measure reflects the good levels of public pay, security and pension rights compared with the private sector. Government regrets the pain this will cause, but regards it as essential. Thank you.
And it certainly seems to be hurting the lifestyles of the Irish public servants in question, yet they’re bearing it with good grace, even though their union leaders are moaning like stuck pigs:
Ireland has not ground to an indignant halt. Union leaders have fulminated, odd work-to-rule sessions have sprung up, some phones have taken longer to answer, and there was a demonstration last year of fully half the size promised by union leaders (whose pay is linked to that of senior public officials).
How strange. These people have all taken a massive cut to their lifestyles and are just getting on with it. Can you imagine the self-righteous outrage, strikes, uncollected rubbish and dead bodies in the streets if they tried this in the UK?
The article lists many possible reasons why this is happening: the Irish are nicer people, they’re more pragmatic, they’re aware that job security is a blessing to be treasured and respected, the pay cut was so shocking that it cut through people’s fantasies and brought them back to earth, or that they have a stronger sense of community.
All of these things may be true, although I fear that the one thing that truly differentiates the Irish from us is this: their government had the guts to try this on. No political party in the UK has the guts to do what really needs to be done.
PS: A small bonus: