From Terry Noel.
I READ with interest of Deputy Trevor Pitman’s drive to rid the States House of Blackberry devices and other such implements (JEP, 30 October) encouraging me to respond to something I should have done last week.
As a staff representative for our department’s association, I attended last Wednesday’s States debate on the proposal to restore the public sector’s rights to free collective bargaining for all associations.
The discussion included a derogatory comment from one particular Constable that staff representatives should be using their time more efficiently, rather than attending State debates. This insensitive remark displayed an attitude of total ignorance of how much free time staff reps give for the benefit of their colleagues.
Instead of spending quality time with my wife and family, which to me as a shift-worker is very precious, I instead spent the day watching and listening intently to every speech that was made by various politicians covering the fors and againsts to Deputy Shona Pitman’s proposal. Not so for many of our politicians, however, who seemed happy to drift in and out of the debate, missing out on potentially important detail.
Then of course we have the Blackberry issue; I spotted at least six Members of the House tapping away on their devices during the course of the day showing complete lack of interest in individuals speaking.
After the break for lunch, it got more entertaining as one Member, having either got bored or finished with the crossword in his national paper, turned to read the JEP, joined by another four or five Members.
The finale to this was watching the Chief Minister, after giving his speech for the day to the House, display contempt for Deputy Southern by walking out as he stood up to say his bit.
Is this the way we, as taxpayers, expect our voted politicians to behave? It is no wonder extensive mistakes have been made resulting in overspend and lost euro-deals etc.
The people who run our Island are very quick to imply that the public sector workforce is overpaid and not deserving of their posts; they are very quick to enforce ‘efficiency savings’ (that’s cuts, by the way) on our chief officers, resulting in drastically under-funded departments that would crumble without the goodwill of the workforce; they are very quick to make promises of no job cuts if the public sector accepts the pay freeze only for departments to be forced to use terms like ‘managed vacancies’ and ‘natural wastage’ through retirement – they are still job cuts, no matter how it is termed.
I really think it’s time for them to get their own House in order and make some of their own efficiency savings, because it is not the departments that are wasting valuable taxpayers’ money that also foots the bills for these wonderful electronic devices.