Since coming to power a year and a half ago, the Government has quite simply, done a hatchet job on the public sector.
Not only has there been wave after wave of swingeing cuts to funding, at every opportunity they have publicly criticised public sector organisations, claiming they are inefficient, top heavy in management, brimming with non-jobs and wasting money all over the place.
This couldn’t be further from the truth, however, the Government has done a really good job in getting into the consciousness of the general public and almost convincing them that the public sector are responsible for the current economic mess the country is in.
The public sector has consistently been hung out to dry by this Government and it worries me that this approach is being fortified and I’ve a horrible feeling that today’s strike is just the start of what will be a long a very messy battle which will leave everyone in a much worse place than we are now.
Ministers appear to be wringing their hands, taking off their jackets and getting ready for a fight.
Without getting into the semantics of who said what, it seems to me that ministers stopped negotiating a long time ago and have since spent their time calling public sector workers stupid, irresponsible and greedy.
They say the strength of a Government is judged by the strength of the opposition so I’m extremely disappointed not to see Ed Miliband wading into the argument in staunch defence of the public sector.
He has done quite the opposite in fact which makes me even less confident this dispute will be resolved quickly.
This strike is not the usual argument that workers don’t get paid enough so they’ll down tools until they get a better deal.
What the Government is trying to do is make people pay more into their pensions, work longer and end up with less when they retire.
It will mean millions of people will be worse off financially in the latter years of their lives and everything they have worked for, paid for and been promised will be taken away from them.
I don’t get a pension with this job so I write this with absolutely no vested interest in the matter, but I wholeheartedly support the industrial action and I think people are totally right in their stance.
Everyone who works in the public sector is more aware than most of the economic situation and the need to save money.
No-one has a problem about doing their bit to contribute to the solution.
I reckon most would be happy to consider one or even two of the proposed measures around their pensions but to have all three imposed on them is a step too far. Is is unfair.
There will be disruption for us all.
Child care will be a nightmare for many of us. Ten per cent of the town, including me, won’t get their bin collected. Travel will be extremely difficult, especially if you are trying to leave or enter the country.
Personally, I can put up with a day of disruption if it is going to get the Government back round the table.
I fear it won’t though, which will result in more days of strike action and with each one, any support that the public sector has left with the general populous will diminish each time and play straight into the Government’s hands, who will relish the chance to enforce the opinion that public servants are the bad guys.
The element in all of this which I find intriguing is that, for the first time I’m aware of, senior civil servants have decided to go out on strike. These are the people who work side by side with Government ministers.
They write their speeches, carry out their policies and generally ensure that the government is functional. For these civil servants above all to strike tells me that there is something not right with the Government’s approach.
Everything will be done to try and ensure that many services as possible run smoothly but it is inevitable that a lot of people will be affected by today’s strike action.
Things will be back to normal tomorrow and if there is anything positive to come out of this situation, the money saved will be a little help to the council’s own difficult financial position.