I think my eardrums have just burst and started to bleed. It seems that the Guardian columnists and readers are not too impressed with George Osborne looking to break the national public servant wage structure:
It has not yet been decided if localised pay will apply only to new staff or to existing staff as well, but it was being stressed that no current employee would suffer a pay cut. Instead pay levels will gradually be adjusted to take account of costs, leading to larger pay rises in the south-east where some labour shortages exist.Please, please apply it to all staff. Otherwise you're going to have apartheid between older (unsackable) staff with the higher wages and new staff with the regional variation. What happens when staff compete for a promotion? No, the only feasible way I can see to manage this is going to be for the poorer regions to freeze public sector worker pay for longer until public sector wages are roughly aligned with local private sector wages.
The comments are truly a treasure. Formboy pithily expresses a common sentiment:
I hope Gideon hasn't forgotten that public servants in some of the more deprived areas in this country serve some of the most needy people in the UK. But then again he probably doesn't give a flying fuck.I think Gideon is acutely aware that the needy people in the richer segments of the country get screwed over by a desperate lack of good public servants (teachers, nurses etc.) as the buying power of their wages are uncompetitive compared with the same job and same salary in e.g. Cornwall or Staffordshire. Since public sector workers are outnumbered by private sector workers by something like 5 or 6 to 1, there's a greater overall societal benefit in Gideon's approach.
The thing is, my social conscience chums, George is right. If this works out, it's going to be much easier for a hospital, police authority or LEA to pay more to attract staff to fill a local shortage - they have no such ability as it stands, and are at the mercy of Whitehall. Swan17 makes the point:
When I was a London-based Civil Servant I had to travel to other parts of the country as part of my job. I can still remember spending a week in Newcastle and discovering that my wage would put me in the top 10% of the area whilst I was still fairly junior. Yes, I know that London Weighting does help a bit but National Rates are not always the answer.
Companies can do it so why should the Civil Service be different?
Though a mischievous thought does occur that it would be interesting to weight MP's salaries according to a multiple of a standard Civil Service grade in their constituency's main city...