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Public service: walk-out over pay rises

Richard North, 18/12/2012  


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Rarely would one tend to support a public sector strike, but this one has merit, with workers walking out after Caerphilly chief executive Anthony O'Sullivan was given a £27,000 rise on top of his £120,000 salary.

Of the pay rises – which applied to twenty of the top-paid staff - Cllr Colin Mann, leader of the opposition Plaid group, complained that they were "more than most of our employees earn in a year".

But indicating how far removed from the public they are supposed to represent, the "politically-balanced" remuneration committee had not only approved that rises, but when the full council met to review the decision, "no issues or concerns were raised by members at the time".

Interestingly, Anthony O'Sullivan's wages are fairly modest compared with some of our Council thieves, our own local peculator (page 71) walking away with £227,234 in total remuneration last year.

What the action in Caerphily shows, however (and the lack of action elsewhere), is the absence of democracy in the system. Elected officials no longer pretend to represent their electorates, while the people have no power to impose their will.

This, of course, is where the Harrogate Agenda comes in. One suspects that a council submitting a budget which included excessive payments from senior staff would simply be thrown out by the voters. And since the councillors are clearly unable to do their jobs, it is about time that the people took over and made the decisions.

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