Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A heart-wrenching story: stressed civil servants

A commenter to this blog, Wilson, pointed me to an Internet link to one of the most heart-wrenching stories I’ve read in some time: The Montreal Gazette reports that federal public servants are taking time off work at an accelerating rate and—according to Carleton University professor Linda Duxbury—it’s the sign of a public service that’s so stressed out and demoralized that employees are dropping like flies. Oh dear, the poor souls.

Here’s what Kevin Gaudet, federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, reportedly said about that:

“They’ve got extremely generous pay, they’ve got the second-most lucrative pension plan in the country (next to MPs), they’ve got a giant amount of days off, they’ve got huge amounts of top-up (salary) for maternity leave, they’ve got a ton of personal days, and they’ve got, in effect, jobs for life. It doesn’t get much more coddled than that.”

I think Mr. Gaudet has got the rascals’ number.

With all the salary and benefits these public servants already get, PM Stephen Harper’s government recently gave the Public Service Alliance of Canada, the biggest federal public-sector union, wage increases of 5.3 per cent over three years. So much for austerity. And imagine that this deal was made at a time when many private-sector workers don’t even have a job, and many of those at work have not received a raise this year.

This is big government out of control and thumbing its nose at us suckers, the hapless taxpayers.

The already wide gap (in favour of public servants) between public-sector and private-sector pay and benefits is widening even further, and now we hear they’re stealing “time” to boot.

According to the Gazette, Canadian private-sector workers took an average of 8.9 days off in 2009, for what Statistics Canada defines as leave taken for illness or disability, and personal or family responsibilities. Within the public sector, however, the average is an astonishing 12.6 days per year. And, over the past decade, uncertified sick leave in the civil service—i.e., leave without a doctor’s note—surged by 74 per cent, from 4.1 days per employee to 7.1 days.

This seems like one hell of a price for labour peace in Ottawa, the fat-cat capital of Canada. If I didn’t know better, I think the NDP were running the place. Whatever happened to prudent management? It’s seems in pretty short supply in our capital.


© 2010 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.


  1. John Counsel was talking about this last night on CFRA, in relation to an Ottawa Citizen story on Saturday.

    I had to agree with his chief point. Millions in the private sector have the same workplace pressures to do more with less as companies battle to survive, however, these poor folks generally have to go to work everyday without a pension to look forward to, and yet they go... Certainly not not go 40% often than 10 years ago.

    I've been building my own business, and have had 3 days off since I launched in April. Often 20+ hour days, and with uncertain returns for the effort on a daily basis. And the only pension I will see is if I succeed and build the business strong before I retire.

    And I love it!

    Suppose I should be demoralized too

  2. Snivel servants don't know the meaning of stress other than caused by their unions threatening strike action

    But what do you expect from the Harper Party, liberals in blue?

  3. Gaudet missed one, they don't work that hard either much of the time. (real conservative)