Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Hurray for the public sector

A group of public sector workers have breathed a collective sigh of relief over the fact that they will escape Conservative, and most likely Labour plans for a pay freeze. Shadow Chancellor, George Osborne had suggested at the Conservative party conference that when it came to a public sector pay freeze, "We're all in this together." However it looks as though one group of public employees is likely to escape the freeze.

In autumn 2008, in the midst of the financial crisis, the Government took what ended up being a 70% stake in RBS. As market commentators claimed at the time, RBS was nationalised in all but name. Overnight a large number of 'big swinging dicks' became 'big public swinging dicks'. Apart from the fact that they now sounded rather like people who exposed themselves in public, it also meant that they were effectively public sector employees.

The implications of this were horrendous, not least because many of them thought that they would have to do things like join a union and fraternise with civil servants, council officials and social workers.

It then dawned on them that this government, and future governments might also consider themselves entitled to treat these 'big dicks' as subject to the same guidelines on pay as public employees - with all that that would then imply for pay restraint.

But they can rest easy. Chancellor Darling and Shadow Chancellor Osborne have no plans to restrict the pay of these particular public sector employees, even less actually to get involved in the pay negotiations themselves. We must remember, banks like RBS might well be nationalised in all but name but when it comes to pay that name makes a big swinging difference.


  1. But if you restrain their pay they'll leave RBS and the bank will never recover its former glory

  2. The best way to get that public money back for the tax-payer is to let the banks pull in huge amounts of cash again, as they did before the crash

  3. I wonder if RBS will sell me some of their lovely credit derivatives

  4. 'We're all in this together'... I love it. None of Osborne's proposal will make any difference to him and his front bench team and his mates in the outside world.
    They have so much money that they can take a 'public sector' pay cut.
    It is the middle class that they look like squeezing.
    Plenty there for Labour to get its teeth into

  5. Most economists are saying that these proposals are a drop in the ocean. This was a 'bookkeepers speech'. He said nothing about 'growth' which is ultimately the only thing that will get us out of this mess.

  6. Here we go:
    Bankers - bailed out and no pay restraint
    Taxpayer- screwed by bankers and facing pay restraint.
    Something doesn't add up here.

  7. They don't call them investment w***ers for nothing

  8. Let's hope Osborne's pay cut won't mean he has less spending money on next year's summer holiday.

  9. The cost of interest on the current levels of public debt overshadow the education budget.
    Debt has to be cut.
    And cutting from what has been a major tax revenue provider - ie the city - doesn't make sense.

  10. I wonder how much of RBS money is being kept off-shore and away from taxpayer, voter, commentator scrutiny
    Who was it who said, no representation without taxation?
    These people get taxed less and yet they are represented more.

  11. Does it really matter to ordinary folk who wins the next election?
    Who exactly is going to be better off under the Tories?

  12. We might not be better off with the Tories, but maybe it is simply time for regime change - a clean sweep.