Bonuses? These days, some are lucky just to have a job!

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The Granite Products employees apparently walked out because they were unhappy that their bosses had rejected a claim for a five-day 45-hour week and the fact that they were never paid overtime, not even for working on Sundays.

Quite frankly, whoever authorised the payment of over a third of a million pounds (it’s not much if you say it quickly) to the senior management of Jersey Telecom should right now be with Jersey’s Island Games team in Aland.

Once there, they’d stand an excellent chance of adding to the Island’s medal haul, given the accuracy with which they seem to score bullseye after bullseye in the ‘shooting yourself in the foot’ events.

When most of the Island’s workforce seem to take the view – privately if not publicly – that hanging on to a job in the present economic climate is about as good as it is going to get for some time to come, the crass stupidity of paying a handful or so of people tens of thousands of pounds each in order (allegedly) to persuade them not to work for a competitor almost beggars belief.

Indeed, if anything was more likely to foster massive discontent among the staff under these managers, then I for one have yet to learn what it is. That’s simply because one of the biggest moans from those at the sharp end is that they are fed up to the back teeth with being told to tighten their belts while those above them in the pecking order continue to ride first-class on the gravy train.

Little wonder bosses’ apologist and Jersey Telecom chairman John Henwood was told in no uncertain terms by the union in response to his invitation to a meeting that a ‘chat’ in such circumstances would not ‘sufficiently address such a serious situation’.

He perhaps needs reminding that there was a time when bosses viewed with absolute disdain those who threatened to leave unless they got more money – essentially what Mr Henwood and his board are shelling out a third of a million quid (presumably every year) in order to avoid.

Such people would have been shown the door very quickly, along with a reminder that no one is indispensable.

To my mind, having to pay people a bonus of tens of thousands of pounds in addition to salaries that are not subject to political (and therefore public) constraint and are pretty hefty themselves is simply a contradiction in terms.

It’s time Mr Henwood and the Jersey Telecom hierarchy learned that loyalty – in the true meaning of the word – simply cannot be bought. If it has to be, then it tells every taxpayer all they need to know about those authorising the payments and those receiving them.

ONCE again, in common with most people, I was saddened but by no means surprised at the tame sentences handed out to a gang of female thugs who subjected two French students to a vicious and sustained attack on the streets of St Helier.

Quite apart from the now perennial question about where the hell the police were while this was going on – there was a time when virtually every street in town saw at least one police officer each hour, either on foot or mobile – one really has to question the will of that lot in the Big House to address the issue of making the town a safe place.

According to Ian Le Marquand, former Magistrate and now Home Affairs Minister, he and the Royal Court have been asking for proper sentencing powers since 2001 – the better part of a decade.

I sometimes wonder whether our elected representatives get out and about as they should. When was the last time one of them spent any time in the Magistrate’s Court – other than in the dock – and actually listened to what was going on? I’m not expecting to be dumbfounded by the response, that’s for sure.

I sometimes joke that the States Chamber is actually a few square yards surrounded by reality, but in all honesty the more I read about them wasting time looking at their own navels and precious little else – I see there’s yet another call to remove the Constables while the place is falling down around their ears – the more I believe that for many of them it’s a job that pays more than they might pull down anywhere else for doing what often appears to be little more than a couple of daily e-mails to journalists.

MUCH as I abhor the tree huggers who, having got themselves somewhere nice to live, then start objecting to others with similar aspirations, I have to agree with Mike Stentiford and his comments about that monstrous intrusion at Le Saie in St Martin.

As he said, it’s difficult to see how this development is in accordance with any Island Plan policies. I doubt that I’d have been so polite. Yet all the architect can say is that it’s got Planning approval, it’ll be nice at the end of the day and it’s a contemporary take on art-deco, whatever that might mean to uneducated non-trendies like me.

Oh, and it’s going to be landscaped. So that makes it all right, then?

AND finally … The Boss has retired, and I hope he enjoys it. I suspect that, in common with his predecessor Sir Peter Crill, Sir Philip Bailhache may well have to wait a while before he is vindicated for the stands he has taken on certain matters.

Neither man had a particularly easy time as Bailiff, mainly because a handful of those who could have helped didn’t.

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