Thursday, February 17, 2011

Humongous civil service pay hikes

The Post:
Wage increases doled out to federal and provincial public servants have nearly doubled those given to private-sector employees in the past decade.  ... federal public servants’ wages rose by 59%, far outpacing the average worker. [And 59% approaches triple the official inflation rate.]

"... there are some theories ... Economic forces could be driving talented staff into the public sector and thus increasing the value of their work ... [Bwaahahahaaa..!!] But political scientists and economists have said there are political reasons for government workers getting “unusually large annual raises.” [That's better.]

... The common view that government is a cushy place to work is misguided and unfair, said John Gordon, national president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, which represents 180,000 federal workers. ... “The workload increases every day, and politicians ... buy into that ‘fat cat public service’ perception.” Public employees deserve the pay raises, he said, and they face many of the same strains as private-sector workers — if not more. [Predictable propaganda from a union honcho - but utter bullshit. There is no way that civil service employees deserve pay increases that are double those in the private sector.]
As a former military officer with years of experience working in Ottawa along-side the federal civil service I find it impossible to accept these exhorbitant increases.  That's not to say that there aren't a lot of highly talented civil servants working very hard to meet or exceed their job descriptions. But it is highly dubious that they are more talented and/or work harder than their private sector counterparts.  Also, unfortunately, large numbers of civil servants are employed doing work that doesn't need doing (and we'd all be better off if it went undone).  Talented people working hard at these jobs is just more government waste - not justification for huge pay increases.


UsualSuspect said...

Not long ago Stockwell Day announced an incentive program to reward civil servants who cut waste and improve efficiency. Basically, they pocket the savings. I thought it was an innovative, bottom-up approach to reward talented civil servants, but I haven't heard anything since. I'm curious to know if anyone else has.

Anonymous said...

OK heres an idea, why not freeze fed workers salaries for 5 years?Or until we get rid of the deficit which ever comes first.


Anonymous said...

The reason is simple. There is no one representing the taxpayer at the bargaining table. Polititians don't pay the tab themselves so they find it easier to give a little more of our money away in exchange for peace than to fight the unions and get bad publicity.

Xanthippa said...

Even before these tax hikes, the average salary (before benefits) paid in the public sector (including all jobs at all levels of the government) was just slightly above 2x the average salary in the private sector.

And the private sector average included the highers of the highest salaries of CEO's and their ilk!

Just consider the implications of this!


Add to this their incredible 'benefits' package and unbelievable retirement benefits (up to 75 or 80% of their pay, plus benefits for them and their whole families) and you will understand why so many people are simply outraged!


The only 'fair' solution would be to index the public sector salaries to the private sector ones. A simple law that stipulates that neither the median nor the average of the public sector wages earned (including all benefits, health, pension, etc.) may be be above those of the private sector...

Methinks we would see great changes!

JR said...

That's right, Xanth. Taking into account the benefits (including job security) the private/public comparisons are even more striking.

UsualSuspect, I haven't heard what came of Stock's incentive program. Though I think it's no easy task coming up with practical incentives that actually cut waste. I've often thought that there ought to be a reward system aimed at getting managaers to reduce the size of their organizations - if not eliminating them altogether. It seemed to me that the incentives were actually in the other direction. Managers were rewarded for empire building, not cutting.