Our unsung heroes

| 26/08/2014

In the indecent haste to discard the civil service 3.2% cost of living allowance (COLA) many unsung heroes have been left behind. There are many government workers who do not show up on the radar screen of employee awards who daily give the people of the Cayman Islands free labour. Whether shortened lunch hours or uncompensated weekend workloads, there are many that go without regularly.

Daily days of extra minutes to hours can become astronomical over a year. Days in lieu cannot pay CUC or the supermarket. There are many uncompensated gifts of labour from all branches of the civil service from the economically depressed.

It must stop.

There should be a work to rule until those who receive the highest salaries face up to this inequality. They cannot comprehend the fragile existence of month to month pay life. Improbable as this may be, the unpaid must become the unreasonable.

Unpaid work in the private sector would find employers before the labour tribunal. In the criminal court this is called obtaining pecuniary advantage by deception, more frequently applied to unpaid hotel bills. The cutbacks have overstayed their welcome in the hotel of free civil service labour.

If there is any intention to discard long serving, long suffering government employees or limit their compensation, it should only happen if free labour comes to a halt or arrears paid up.
A better start would be a higher salary reduction the higher the salary. Lower salaries would see a 1% reduction and highest salaries a 10% cut.

People are not beasts of burden to be taken to the abattoir of economic convenience.

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Comments (36)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    One major problem with the CS is lack of quality at the higher end and the proposal to cut the highest salaries by more would cause even more damage.  The lower paid stuff are more fungible, so it makes sense to make the savings at the lower pay end.

  2. Notch says:

    Solid as a rock…..Well said Mr. Pollack! It is a shame our elected officials do not possess such an insight  and/or conscience, unfortunately!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Easy. Reduce the numbers by 20%.  Ensure the payroll is also reduced by 20%.  Then offer the COLA to those that remain.  Hurrah COLA is back and the cost of the CS is reduced by 17.44%.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I believe that there are some very conscientious civil servants, same as in the private sector. But some who are employed in Govt. authorities seem to need a push from Ministers to respond promptly or fulfill their duties. They act as though their jobs will never end and are very apathetic in their service. Maybe some form of commission per satisfied client could be considered in lieu of higher salary. Send out polls to each Govt. Authority to ask for a response from customers re good and prompt service.

  5. The real truth says:

    If people are really not  beasts of burden to be taken to the abattoir of economic convenience, then why does Caymanian leadership treat all the non- tribal members like they are exactly that? In Grand Cayman the working people are here for the main reason of being the Governments economic convenience.  Or they are sent packing.

  6. Anonymous says:

    So even the good workers at CS don't like the bosses?   You can't fix culture.  

  7. Anonymous says:

    Dear moaning civil servants, if you are so wonderful and unhappy, please do everyone a favor and resign.  It would be best thing you can do for public.

    • Anonymous says:

      I am a business owner and Caymanian. I have always given my fellow Caymanians top priority in hiring and my companies have always paid every man his just worth, as well as overtime pay and due benefits.  No one who has ever been in my employ can say they ever lost from extra work they have done while in my employ. No one can rightfully say they were not paid what they were worth. Which is more than I can say about the C.I. Civil Service these days.

      FYI Brightbox, there is a difference between "moaning" as you put it and pointing out an actual injustice. I have many friends and relatives who work for the CS. Most of them take their licks and accept being used and victimised without much to say about it publicly. I am usualy the one who suggests to them they are doing way too much for way too little, and getting even less by way of appreciation because these islands and the CS have way to many ingrates like you, people of the idiotic mindset that to complain of an injustice is to whine.  I think many of them can eventually get a position in the private sector and while they would be better off in the long run, the CS and government services would be far poorer.

      It is my fondest wish that I had the scope of business and the bankroll to employ every competent industrious civil servant who is tired of being victimised by the system and they could give notice and all resign and come to work for me. Then people who think like you can fill their jobs with expats with no stake in these islands and we will see where that leads. Perhaps they should do what you suggest tomorrow, just say to hell with it and walk out. Be interesting to hear you whine for a cop or fireman or health care worker when the bad boyz come through your window, or your house is torched, or you need an ambulance because one of the bad boyz clatted you after he broke in. Maybe the best thing you could do in that case is do the overworked responders a favour and get out neeedle and thread and sew up your own wounds. Oh…and please don't whine while doing so. Okay?

      • Anonymous says:

        Did you train in self-righteousness and smugness or were you born that way?

      • Anonymous says:

        This sounds like the attitude of a new character in Horrible Bosses 3.  I bet this one is a nightmare to work for.  He almost sounds like a Dickens character.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Oh come on. Some people in the CS work hard.  Great, so they should.  They are well compensated and they (and their families) receive a lot of additional perks.  But the CS overall is bloated and inefficient and there are far too many who do not work hard and should not be there. Getting rid of some of those people is good for the country.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I know a few in the Brac that have 30 odd years in the service and was treated like sh#t so they are just putting in time and calling in sick whenever they want, maybe they should retire them , I know they are 50 and over that would ease up some salaries and sick leave pay!!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Prior to the economic boom of the 70s it was considered generally to be a privilege to be in employment (whether in public or private sector).

    We have been brainwashed throughout the last few decades – employment is a right and there is a right to remuneration that would not cause anyone any financial hardship. 

    These more recent expectations are well and fine if the employer (private or public) can afford to meet them.  The recent "levelling of the market" that the recession has brought about, for the most part, brings us back to the pre-80s reality.  No one, regardless of their capacity, can spend what they do not have.  If an employer's profiatbility does not increase by X% his employees cannot expect an X% increase in salary.

    Beyond the above there are a host of other factors at work.  In Cayman private sector has seen substantial increases especially in connection with employment.  Government has seen a downturn in its 2 historic pillars of revenue (import and stamp duties).  Government has also embarked on signiifcant expansion both in terms of size and the "quality" of remuneration to its employees (it used to be that the public sector counterparttypically earned less than his/her private sector counterpart).

    Contraction of the workforce in private sector is ultimately a make or break decison.  At the time the employer has to make employees redundant he gives the requisite notices and makes the stautory payments.  Public sector is unable to do this; departments, committees and appointees are made up to advise and implement so vague and indeterminate policy.  The result is that public sector, if it slims, does so by attrition (retirement and death).  Public sector employees cannot expect both assurance of continued employment against falling revenue AND annual remuneration increases.  They are lucky to be protected from the reality ofredundancy that pervades private sector.

     

     

  11. Anonymous says:

    The whole business world has changed, whether it is Private Business or Government Business. It used to be that if you work hard, put in extra time, the rewards would be reflected in pay rises, bonuses or promotions. Nowadays, it is expected that you go the extra mile just to keep your job. The inequality of pay and perks for "higher ups" compared to the "dungeon" workers  exists world wide and not just in the Cayman Islands. How else can you explain that a bank who lost billions is still in a position to pay it's top dog a USD 16 mil bonus? The biggest obstacle however is that people have lost pride in what they are doing, and with that, they are screwing themselves and everyone around them in the long run. No matter what job you do and what you get paid for doing it, you can still do it to the best of your abilities – that much you owe to yourself. Nobody can take pride from you, only you can do it.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Maybe the obvious extra hours worked by some would not be necessary if there were not so many people employed in the civil service who are given jobs on nationality rather than ability.  

  13. Anonymous says:

    With CS pandering crap like this is Mr Polack planning to run for election?  

  14. Anonymous says:

    Shows the reality gap between the CS mentality and the private sectionr.  He is arguing for extra money for doing their job.  If civil servants are unhappy they can leave.  And that is a good thing, as it is clear that the proposed cull is going to be a long drawn out joke, given the recent appointment of reviewing head.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well there will be no cull.  Just another layer of bureaucratic incompetence.  

      • Anonymous says:

        Canadians love culls.  Maybe one day a year civil servants should be made to dress as baby seals. 

  15. Anonymous says:

    Go Peter…Despite the nature of the article it is not private sector vs public sector dispute but one of right versus wrong. Two wrongs do not make a right and so any comments about this therefore do not address the true nature of Peter comments.

    Many fail to realise that the civil service has not had a pay raise in 10 years and since that time the cost of living has increased about 20%. This is highlighted by the recent article in the Cayman Compass about the Ministry of Education having to increase teacher's wages. This is just the tip of the iceberg and soon you will hear about the police, customs and others being crushed under the burden of expense with the result relaxed enforcement and increased corruption.

     

    • Anonymous says:

      I'm sorry but welcome to the world of private sector.  I would hazard that as many have not seen pay raises in ten or more years.  And to rub salt in the wound we don't get our health insurance covered for us 100 percent let alone our dependents.  We have a hefty pension to pay and while the law may say if you exceed your workday or week you get overtime many sectors in particular financial services and law firms don't as they tell you simply you need to complete your workload  even if you are the most productive efficient person ever workloads cannot be completed in an 8 or 9 hour day so those people are giving tons of their time just so they get a positive evaluation so they can remain employed otherwise they are ousted for failure to perform duties which labour holds as fair.

      also in private sector you actually have to be nice, play well with others and provide good customer service or you lose your job not so in civil service.  It's almost as if they breed rudeness or teach it.  Someone needs to let them know that we the public certainly help pay their salaries while getting by on less than they do with less benefits and the least they could do is be helpful, heck I would settle for someone actually answering a phone or returning an email.  I've given up on a smile .

  16. anon says:

    in private sector FS industry and so far in 2014 worked 876 hours of unpaid overtime. unsung heroes in the CS, normal workers in the PS.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I must say Peter I am really surprised at you and I have to wonder what motivated you to write this.  Anyone who has had any dealings with the CS knows exactly what goes on and how difficult it is to terminate bad employees of Government.  The problem with this fiction that youve put in the public arena is that there are very good employees in the CS that are forced to carry the deadweight of those non performing CS and there are many, and of course, we the public have to pay their wages.  It is true that there is a large portion of CS such as those that do janitorial work/ maintenance workers, that are on the very low end of the pay scale (very low) that would be really hurt by the cut, but thats not what your article speaks to.  Again, I am really surprised at your article.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I'm in the private sector, work long hours, no overtime pay. It is communicated that you either want the job or not. You either want the promotion or not. There are many others waiting for the opportunity. Do not encourage laziness. 

    At one point the labour board came in and you know what happened? Nothing! Management then reclassified all staff as managerial level, which apparently means that overtime pay is not provided. Where did management get this information? After consulting with a law firm. 

    If you truly want to protect the people from 12-16 hour days everyday in the financial services industry, enact laws with real teeth that have actual penalties. 

    • Anonymous says:

      You probably also make 5 times more than the regular civil servant.. stewps..

      • anon says:

        you think government pays its CA qualified accountants less than US$18,000 a year, actually they earn around 40 % more in the CS than the PS.  which is why they do not want to move into the privae sector the Civil service is too much of a sweet deal.

  19. Anonymous says:

    We're all heroes then….zzzzz. I work in the private sector and this is normal. Don't flatter yourself thinking that only the civil service puts in extra unpaid time, works through lunch, loses untaken vacation days etc

  20. Anon says:

    If this is indeed the case, I suggest Mr Polack add some examples or other evidence to his viewpoint, even if only unsubstantiated. I would expect it to be the exception, not he rule.But where I dsagree is the suggestion that this wouldn't happen in the prvate sector. It is rife in the private sector and has been for years ( I have personal experience) !   

    • Anonymous says:

      yeah but only the Civil Service gets the crap end of the stick and is always criticized.

      • Anonymous says:

        The endless criticism is justified, perhaps try doing something about it, like correcting all the deficiencies and problems instead of pretending they do not exist.