Why the public sector matters.

I work as a volunteer with Bradford Council Countryside service. I carry out practical conservation work all over Bradford district and work with a team of 5 full time staff. Bradford covers 220 square miles and has some of the most iconic upland moorland in the UK (Ilkley Moor and Haworth Moor- Bronte and all that). It is in parts a wild and beautiful landscape that requires ongoing management. The team also has a statutory obligation to maintain public rights of way. This team has been slowly eroded over the years along with the office based teams with posts disappearing as they become vacant.
Last November all council staff were issued with redundancy notices. The council shed many staff but the team I work with were spared only after several months of anxiety. This week, a year on, the council have yet again issued redundancy notices to all its staff. They are looking to shed a further 600 jobs in cost cutting measures. The whole process is very bad for morale and that level of job insecurity is at times intolerable. The tory politicians propped up by their orange tory fags (Liberals) feel the public sector is a safe target to attack. Tories by their pack mentality will not turn on their own (business and finance) and go for what they see as vulnerable (public sector). Waste and inefficiency after all only occurs in the public sector and costs are always higher. Sorry but this is a lie and they know this. We carry out resurfacing jobs on footpaths at a fraction of private contractors as an example. A job was done recently by the team. A local contractor commented on how well it had been done. He said that he had been offered six times the amount we spent to do a similar job. He said it was not worth him bothering for the price he’d been offered.
Working for a council/NHS/civil service has never been a well paid career path but not exploitative either like some private sector wages. What it did assure was a certain level of security and a decent pension. This is for workers who do the jobs no one else wants to do. I spent many years as an RMN looking after the mentally ill; a section of society most would rather forget. These workers care for you when your’e ill, clear your rubbish, teach your children, look after your elderly relatives, maintain parks and so on. My colleague had to clear a site recently and spent all day surrounded by rubbish and human faeces. He was assisted by a group of council workers from cleansing department. He commented that they could not have been more professional, cheerful and hard working in appalling circumstances.
So the government bullies the public sector into destroying the very people we need the most. They take away the very facets of the job that made them appealing. What do the elected councillors do to stand up for the council workers? nothing. They are frightened of prosecution if they decide to not cut their budgets and save money.
My solution is clear. We need these councils/health authorities to stick two fingers up at the government and say no. They need to be courageous in the face of bullying by a government hell bent on destroying the public sector and lecturing everyone abut saving money. Me, I’m firmly in the Keynes corner. Spend money on supporting public services as a means of wealth creation. Ultimately it needs brave public officials to care about those they represent more than getting re elected. Our public services need to be maintained and enhanced not dismantled and demoralised. I love my job. It has helped me back into the work environment and gives me a level of self respect. Please support your public services and hastle your elected representatives to stand up for them.


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