My thanks to Coun Bedford for ‘putting me right’ regarding some of my recent comments. But I still fail to see that we are, as he insists, all in it together. Although the heads of services have declined a pay increase, and the Local Government Association, he says, has been telling the unions for years that terms and conditions are outdated, it still doesn’t alter the fact that the council may make their staff redundant and then offer to re-employ them on less favourable terms.
In other words, as I said, those at the top will still continue to earn more than those at the bottom – the ones who can least afford to lose money. And it is comforting – not – to be told that councillors are not affected because, to quote his words “They are not employees, it is not their job.” Just as well that that is the case, I suggest; if they were employees I don’t think I would be the only one thinking that (some) perhaps ought to seek other employment.
Coun Bedford makes much of my comment about staff getting free parking. Yes, it may seem contradictory that I am concerned about staff facing ‘cuts’ and then say that they should pay for their parking. I still say that: it seems wrong to me that staff working at West Street should get parking for nothing. Can he name any other firm in the town (of similar size to the council) which provides free parking for staff? Most of those I know have to pay to work.
Richard Lenton’s letter made some relevant points but I would suggest the main reason why the public sector has become ‘bloated’ is because of all the additional ‘managers’ which councils seem willing to inflict on us these days.
Finally, two things might be checked by Coun Bedford: he doesn’t appear to be in tune with Coun Richmond, who says no one reads Observer; and Mr Lenton seems to think staff have to pay for their parking!