From the TUC

Squeezing the mandarins until the pips squeak

18 Feb 2009, by in Economics, Public services, Society & Welfare

Amid all the clamour about bankers bonuses, top British civil servants have voluntarily given theirs up. Sue Cameron in the Financial Times wonders why they’re bing punished this way when they’re not to blame for the crisis. But giving up these bonuses shouldn’t be seen as punishment, even self-inflicted (and it would be unfair to point out that bonuses paid to civil servants are far, far lower than bankers’ bonuses). What the mandarins have done is an understandable and laudable response to an economy in crisis, as the top civil servants’ union the FDA has recognised.

In a recession, the poor will suffer far more than the well-off (and far far more than the rich, which doesn’t include top civil servants). So the better off in society should be prepared to make their contribution. A better solution would undoubtedly be a more progressive tax system, but given that not even the mandarins can mandate that, only politicians, giving up their bonuses is a good, collective, example to set. What a different world we would live in if top bankers were similarly minded….

2 Responses to Squeezing the mandarins until the pips squeak

  1. My del.icio.us bookmarks for February 18th through February 19th | called2account
    Feb 20th 2009, 12:20 am

    […] Squeezing the mandarins until the pips squeak | ToUChstone blog: A public policy blog from the TUC – Cutting bonuses is an act of obligation […]

  2. Robert Day
    Feb 28th 2009, 12:53 am

    Of course, the ‘mandarins’ have a different bonus system to the rest of the rank-and-file civil servants – in fact, they don’t have one, except for some of the performance-related pay schemes calling the amount of annual pay increase that exceeds any given Government pay norm a ‘bonus’. What that actually means is that part of the pay increase you’ve earned this year is paid to you in a lump sum that doesn’t increase your pension entitlement. (I gather that many ordinary bank counter staff have similar arrangements.)

    In recent weeks, I’ve seen comments in the blogosphere to the effect that bankers in the state sector (let’s just savour that statement for a second!) should be paid the same as other public sector and Civil Service workers. Perhaps the message is getting through at last that public sector salaries aren’t the bed of roses that the bluetop tabloids have been making them out to be…