Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Newmania: You Bastards

One of my favourite tweeps was, until this morning, a Newmanian Public Servant with 20 years’ experience. @Dangerman_2 had been waiting for weeks to hear if he’d be one of the lucky ones, or if he’d get the dreaded phone call from one of King Campbell's minions. 

This morning was not a normal morning in his office, and I daresay that’s true across the Public Service. Frankly, when 60,000 people are sitting around, waiting for a phone call to confirm whether their career is over, it's not a money problem. It's a human problem.

Oh, let's be honest. It's a Change Management Clusterf*ck. 

The entire Public Service has been all rumours, exposed nerves and tear ducts since King Campbell started sacking people. I believe that was Day One of his Reign, March 25. The unease has escalated, plateauing temporarily on Black Friday, June 30, and the first major round of redundancies. Then last Friday, Prince of Health, Lawrence Of Borg, announced 2754 jobs in Queensland Health would cease to exist. Somehow, in less than a week, 2754 became 4,100. 

I have to ask, if this LNP mob can do Magical Maths like that, all based on a Sorcerer's Book of Myths written by the Wizardmaster Costello, why can't they just use their powers for good? Who benefits from pretending the state is heading for financial disaster? 

Meanwhile, 4pm ticked by, and it was still going on. Public Servants were still being told that if they haven’t already had their future confirmed one way or another, to wait by their emails. EMAIL?

It's a new low in human management. It's completely lacking in both compassion and respect. I thought it was bad when people were advised of redundancy by phone, as @Dangerman_2 was this morning. Can you imagine finding out via email that you've been sacked? As far as communication goes, it doesn't get worse than this.

Of course Twitter rumours have been bubbling for days: stories of ‘Safety Squads’ working through last night to remove sharp objects from desks and workstations in Government buildings sound entirely implausible. Other stories of entire frontline departments in tears while phones go unanswered sound more believable. Rumours of older public servants on stress leave; whispers of suicide...it's impossible for me, in my semi-secure private sector rut, to comprehend. I've survived three "restructures" in the past year.

I don't know how many of the 14,000 are being given notice and how many have been paid out and terminated. I've heard that some people are being escorted from their workplaces by security guards. The average redundancy payout looks to be close to a year’s salary. I wonder if people are leaving with cheques shoved into pockets with the soggy tissues, or if there’s an extraordinary government pay run today for redundancy payments.

Treasurer Tim Nicholls believes that this budget will allow Queenslanders to have confidence. I doubt it. What's there to be confident about?

The Health Department has lost over 4,000 employees, and some of them are frontline staff. We already know that the Gold Coast Hospitals are losing medical staff from the Emergency and Surgery departments...I'm confident this is Queensland Health's worst case scenario.

As many times as we heard Treasurer Tim say "back on track and back in the black" today, it means about as much as when King Campbell reassured us that public sector jobs were safe. 

As of 4:30pm, the Queensland budget was still a nationally trending topic. Federal Treasurer and Acting PM Wayne Swan was not holding back when he found the time to tweet.

Memo to King Campbell: sacking "only" 14,000 jobs is not "saving" 6,000 jobs. It's not saving anything. It is still sacking 14,000 people. It's not limited to a column of numbers: it's 14,000 people with careers that just stopped, 14,000 people suffering a variety of psychological impacts, 14,000 more people competing for the available jobs in the private sector.

One of my closest friends left her job as a Project Manager last year to start a Bachelor of Medical Imaging degree course at QUT. This is traditionally a 4 year course, but QUT developed the condensed 3 year course, to correct a shortage in the industry.

The graduating class of 2011 had about 120 people. Of those 120 graduates, over 40% still don't have positions as medical imagers or radiographers...and the class of 2012 is terrified. My friend will be in the class of 2013, but this s her second degree and she has other skills and experience. Most of the class started their university course straight after high school, and don't have a Plan B. What's their future?

How long will it take to repair the damage to Newmania's economy? My guess is that the economy will be easier to fix than bruised psyches of a state with a broken heart.

This really sucks.

* Based on an FTE average annual cost of $80,000.

1 comment:

  1. Spot on! The whole thing is just crap and our great State is being decimated by a jumped up twerp with 'little man' syndrome! Govern with humility he spouted...he can't even govern with humanity! As we are stuck with this rotten lot for several years even The Borg looks a better prospect, which is really sad. It shows the depth of despair when you find yourself agreeing with Clive Palmer. Perhaps he should have run amd won. :-(