Friday, 6 May 2011

AV Or Not AV? That Is The Question.....

...but I don't want your answers. Votes are secret, right?

Today I spent 15 hours at a local polling station. I was a Poll Clerk for the day and whilst it wasn't super-massive fun it wasn't too onerous. My colleagues, all but one of whom were city council employees, were complaining about how long the day was going to be from about 9 am (we started at 6.30 am); how it was going to drag; and how tedious it was going to be. They obviously have never spent 12 hours on a railway siding counting moral fibre.

Like I said, all but one of the other five people knew each other from work and had done the job on several occasions. Poll clerks were paid about £150 after tax - not bad and mine will go straight into the bank tomorrow. However, one of the council employees told me that he had expected to have to book a day's leave to work in the polling station today and was pleasantly surprised to be told that not only didn't he have to book a day off, he also would get his regular day's pay PLUS the clerking pay. Is it just me or does anybody else find that totally outrageous?! I was really annoyed (but hid it very well, obviously) and just said 'no wonder you're all clamouring for the poll station work then' - when I had my training for the job almost all the others there were council employees.

I find it amazing that the council would happily pay its employees twice for the one job and am not at all surprised that public sector workers are clinging onto their jobs and perks with all their might. That's money from council tax paid by all the inhabitants of this city and I think it's just wrong, wrong, WRONG. I can understand that nobody's going to say 'actually, I won't take two lots of pay for this one day's work', after all they are just going along with a precedent that has been set, presumably for a long time. But at a time when councils are moaning that they have to cut back on frontline services perhaps they should look at the money that they've paid out to their employees for this one day. And I don't wanna hear the argument 'if the council workers weren't willing to do it there wouldn't be enough people to man the polling stations' - my local council found an extra 150 that they were told were needed with no trouble at all.  It just seems like 'jobs for the boys' to me.

I must say, I've worked in the NHS and it was nothing like the rest of the public sector seems to be. Cushy with a capital C.......

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