Thursday 23 February 2017

Public deserve better service

ON the face of it, it would appear to have been a civil service solution to a civil service problem. That is, pay the workers lots of overtime to clear up the mess they created.

Passport office workers who conducted an acrimonious dispute earlier this year have subsequently earned a whopping €1.74m in overtime, dealing with a backlog of 71,000 applications. However, the dispute was only one of several factors that created the enormous backlog. So the "create a problem and get paid for solving it" theory does not entirely stand up. The dispute arose when the Civil and Public Service Union vetoed the recruitment of 50 temporary staff who, in happier times, would have been drafted in to deal with the summer holiday rush.

Holidays were cancelled and air fares forfeited, but most of the anger and disappointment, as expressed to reporters and in calls and texts to radio shows, was down to feelings of humiliation and hurt at being treated with such contempt by workers who, although understandably aggrieved at having suffered pay cuts, were nevertheless still in secure employment.

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