What do you do if an entire public sector goes on strike indefinitely?
- You can’t sack them all, because they can simply sign on for social welfare and end up getting paid by the state for not working.
- You can’t negotiate because there is nobody to negotiate with – only a brick wall which holds thousands of people behind it.
- You can’t let it happen for any length of time because it means the state starts losing serious money and stops functioning.
- You can’t change law to engineer a fix because you need the consent of other parties who won’t support you because they want you out and enjoy watching you in this mess.
That’s the situation our current government will be in shortly if everyone sticks to their word. The 2010 irish budget is announced tomorrow and as a government, they should be finished, surely – but then again the people have voted for these guys not so long ago… Under normal circumstances, a manager gets sacked when a side loses too often. What did we do? We offered them a 4 year contract when we were so obviously failing to perform.
It’s at times like this where you also have to question the value of unions. Even if they defend their members and get what they want, they’ll ultimately lose it in other ways or else pass the cuts on to people who have no representation or influence. Nobody can beat the government and that’s the way it should be, unless of course the government is corrupt (we’re not quite there yet).
If public sector wages don’t get cut by 6% and save €x billion, it means spending will be cut further which in turn leads to job losses and lack of job creation which in turn results in less revenue for government and increased social welfare costs.
Look at it however you want – unless we borrow, more jobs will be lost and cuts will happen. We won’t /can’t borrow, so that means cuts will happen and if they don’t, it means jobs will be lost. If any of us were in the government’s position, we’d probably do the exact same. Anything else is too attacking and too risky and won’t get support.
We’d look to borrow first. But we’d be refused loans. We’d then look to cut spending. If we couldn’t cut any more spending we’d try to work another job or work longer hours (for more income). If we couldn’t do that, it’s KO and rather than ‘look’ at spending cuts, we’d just have to cut them ruthlessly based on what’s least important, which is the equivilent of cutting jobs for the government. Start off with part timers, contract workers, look for people who’ll leave voluntarily… etc…
Sympathy is a word which cannot have any meaning if you’re balancing books. You make the decisions and stick by them and accept the consequences. If the government cave in now, they’re showing great weakness. They said they would make unpopular decisions for the good of the country, so i fully expect them to cut ruthlessly and in doing so derail the train they’ve pilotted for so many years. Starting tomorrow, we can sit back with popcorn and watch the fireworks go off…