T.D. backs frontline workers.
The funny thing about all this is that John McGuinness has no disdain for the public sector. In fact, it is his love for the civil service, and his ambition to have the best public service in Europe, that is motivating his so-called outspokenness. In self-help speak, McGuinness wants the civil service to be the best civil service it can be. Is that the man who has distain for the civil service, or is it the guy who thinks it should be left alone in its dysfunction because it would be too much hassle to try to improve it?
– Brendan O’Connor, Sunday Independent, 21st September 2008.
Asked about his strong views on the public service John McGuinness said that a good headline often buries a great truth and his defence of frontline workers in the public service had largely gone unnoticed by the media or had been misrepresented by others for their own ends.
He said that he had spoken about and written about his admiration for the work frontline public servants do, often for very little money. In one instance, he said, he went so far as to say that nurses, proud members of a caring profession, would make a much better job of running hospitals than the layers of overpaid senior managers above them”
“It is there in black and white: I demanded that the people at the top be reduced in number, paid less and made more accountable. I demanded that culture and practices be changed to give those on the frontline more responsibility, and more opportunity to work in jobs that were exciting and rewarding. I demanded that a stop be put to the bullying that, in my experience, is now rampant in the public service. I suggested that major layoffs could be avoided if those at senior levels took redundancy, thereby giving those below a chance to take more responsibility and earn more” said Deputy McGuinness, “ Finally, I told unions to move into the 21st century, by removing restrictive practices and stopping their maintenance of a the dependency culture, both of which are preventing the implementation of best human resources and workplace practice .This would be of huge benefit to their members and the public service generally”.
Deputy McGuinness said that Ireland couldn’t have a world class economy without world class civil and public services. He said that frontline workers were holding creaking systems together, while their senior managers and senior union representatives were holding meetings, sitting on state boards, kicking for touch and dragging frontline workers on to the picket line to protect the people above them, the very people who were preventing progress and consuming financial resources needed for frontline services.
“I know how all this works” said Deputy McGuinness. “At one end, by using frontline workers, whom the public respect, on picket lines, you divert attention from the inadequacies of senior management and, at the other end, you do anything you can to misrepresent and shut up people like me. I think the frontline workers are beginning to see how they are being used and will demand better representation from their unions. Why should unions be protecting huge salaries at middle and senior management level while frontline workers suffer? That needs to stop”.
Deputy McGuinness said that his questioning of unions and the culture and systems in the public sector had resulted in a huge, positive response from across the service.
“I get letters, phone calls and texts from those who had taken the trouble to listen to me or read the articles I write. There is a great deal of frustration and anger, because frontline workers can see the waste around them” said Deputy McGuinness “I promised those who contacted me that I would not stop, because a revitalised, fair and well organised public sector, represented by forward thinking unions, is essential if this country is to succeed.