The country, ot at least elements of the media, are very exercised today by the decision of the Civil Service Arbitration Board yesterday not to recommend the unilateral cutting of annual leave days from civil service workers. That though is not how the story is being told.
The naming of these entitlements as privilege days, and referencing them to an English Monarch’s birthday and Empire Day, have encouraged people to jump so quickly onto their high moral horse that they have gone clean over the other side.
It is the case that the days should have been relinquished or renamed in 1922, or technically in 1949 when Ireland became a Republic, but the reality is that they were simply absorbed into the regular leave entitlement of civil servants, whether in name or not.
The fact they have been there so long as part of the terms and conditions of employment means they were part of the attraction for every single civil servant in taking the job in the first place.
Why stop there? Why not just tell everybody they cannot have days off any more because of the state we are in. We would be much more productive if everybody worked on Saturdays, only took ten days off a year and just simply gave up their right to fair pay and fair treatment. Sure our quality of life would be less but think of the productivity gains.
Public service reform is an important issue but using this in isolation as a stick to beat civil servants is just stoking up a mob mentality.