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UK: Are Public Sector Workers Worth It?
Source: staffordshirenewsletter.co.uk
Source Date: Thursday, December 30, 2010
Focus: Knowledge Management in Government
Country: Europe
Created: Dec 30, 2010

MOST people starting work in Stafford’s main frontline public sector jobs earn less than the borough’s average wage of £25,623, a second Newsletter investigation has revealed.

Our first report in September caused shockwaves throughout the borough’s corridors of power after we revealed almost half of the top public servants were earning more than than the Prime Minister.

Now, with tens of millions of pounds’ worth of cutbacks announced in recent weeks the price of staffing our councils, emergency services, educational institutions and NHS hospital is being scrutinsed more closely than it has been in years.

Figures released by the Office of National Statistics at the beginning of December revealed the average wage in Stafford Borough had fallen by £2,612 in the last year.

However, that still eclipses the starting wage for paramedics who earn £21,176 - 11 times less than their chief executive Anthony Marsh who gets a total package of £232,000.

Nurses starting work at Stafford Hospital receive exactly the same annual pay. That means Chief Executive Antony Sumara takes home nine times more with his £199,000.

Staffordshire police constables - who have been reduced in number by 70 since the beginning of the year - earn almost six times less than top cop Mike Cunningham with their £23,259.

Meanwhile, trainee firefighters start on £21,157 - while their chief fire officer Peter Dartford has a package worth £148,653.

At Stafford Borough and Staffordshire County councils - who recently announced around £25m worth of cuts between them - many frontline jobs fall well below the average wage.

A teaching assistant at the county councilstarts on £15,444, while a school cleaner gets £12,312. Social workers start work on £28,636.

These wages compare with chief executive Nick Bell’s package of £195,000.

At the borough council revenues and benefits customer service advisers start on £12,145 with our lifeguards earning £12,217 per year.

In our local educational establishments, a Staffordshire University IT and learning technology officer takes home £21,565. A clerical assistant starts on £15,292 and a service user and carer coordinator‘ s starting pay is £21,565.

Finally, a customer service adviser at Bromford Housing Group starts on £15,250, nearly 12 times less than boss Mick Kent’s £181,275.

Jane Heath from Stafford UNISON said about our figures: “When comparing pay and roles by looking at formal qualifications of employees, public sector graduates are paid 3.4 per cent less than the private sector.

“What must also be taken into consideration is that a large amount of unpaid overtime is routinely carried out by public sector workers, something that is unique to the public sector culture as it is based on public service, supporting some of the most vulnerable in our society.”

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