Page last updated at 09:50 GMT, Tuesday, 14 July 2009 10:50 UK

City diaries: Your reaction

Evening Standard newsstand reads BANK CRISIS TALKS AT NO. 10 and SHARES SLUMP YET AGAIN

BBC News website readers have been giving us their reaction to the latest City Diaries.

One diarist, Mark, argued that those in the public sector have been relatively untouched by the recession. Is it time that public sector workers shared some of the private sector's pain?


I work in local government and the idea that the public sector is recession proof is a myth. The public sector goes through the same boom and bust cycle - it is just the booms tend to be less 'boomy' and the busts less severe. In the boom times the public sector has to show 'restraint' on claims for pay rises to help control inflation. In the bust times the public sector cannot afford pay rises!

Due to the bailing out of the banks the public sector is looking at funding cuts for the next decade as the government looks to balance the books. This will inevitably mean service cuts and consequently job losses.
Steve Abbott, London

I work for a county council whose stated aim is to keep salaries in the bottom "quartile" which I think means roughly a quarter of the mean or average salary. To compensate for this we get flexible working and a good pension which we do contribute to. At the last statement the fund was not in deficit and fit to meet current and future liabilities, so what is wrong with that? City folk are happy to take the cash in good times, not sparing a thought for the less fortunate, but they'd cry if they had to share their bonus and now they want to share their pain with others!
Kevin Potter, Woodchurch

I've been a civil servant for nearly 30 years at a fairly low level, and I can honestly say that all the talk of a "vastly overpaid public sector" is rubbish from where I stand. As a graduate with 30 years' experience, I have yet to reach the dizzy heights of the national average wage. The big money is in middle and higher management, where large salaries have been on offer to tempt managers from the private sector.

And as for the argument that the public sector must "take its share of the pain" - well, it was four years ago that Gordon Brown announced to cheers in the House of Commons that he was going to slash more than 100,000 jobs from the civil service, and people have been leaving in droves ever since. I know all about pain and so do many thousands of my colleagues as well.
Robert Day, Coventry

Stock broker

Whilst myself and fellow workers are taking 'furloughs' and have had pay frozen I notice that public workers are threatening strike action not only if their pay doesn't go up but if it doesn't go up enough! Can't we exile these people on a duck island somewhere?
David O'Brien, Basingstoke

I worked for over 40 years in the public sector. It was always believed that in pay terms we caught up slightly in recessions and lost out in boom periods. When I left I was intrigued to find that my pay was 40% of the equivalent in the private sector.
Roger, Oxford

I work for an IT support company and I deal with financial sector and public sector customers. In the financial sector I see costs cut to the bone, redundancies, consolidation of services and contraction of higher risk business. I hear about pay freezes and small bonuses, and I see people working long hours.

Public sector senior managers seem to be raking in high salaries while having an easy life

In the public sector I see small IT departments scraping by and making do, same as they ever did, but over the years they seem to have moved into much smarter offices and the senior managers seem to be raking in high salaries while having an easy life with short hours and little accountability.

I would be all for a small increment for the lower paid public sector workers but I don't think the top public sector earners even deserve what they get now, whereas the financial sector people I see are at least working to keep their jobs.
Jim, Chelmsford

The comments by your diarist 'Mark' are very typical of those in the City. When times are good and he gets his big bonuses, I doubt he thinks very much about those in the public sector and the work they do (for very little or no bonus for the vast majority).

There is waste and bureaucracy in all sectors which should be weeded out but for most of the hard working public sector workers. Good luck to them and their good pay and good pensions. And before you ask, I work for a bank in the City.
J Thomas, London

Hospital nurses and clerk

It's scandalous the way some of the City Diarists think. They work in the City (so do I) and regardless of their talent it probably means their basic salary is several times what a nurse or midwife 25 years into his/her career is on. City workers do not all work all night like they would like you to believe; the pubs are crowded at 5:15pm!

Pay the nurses, teachers and fire fighters and raise the pensions of the old age. This is one group of people we should as a community demand to see fairly rewarded.
Ben Star, London

I work in the private sector, but even I can see how wrong Mark's comments are. Public sector workers are paid so much less than their equivalents in the private sector precisely because they take less risk. Their jobs are more secure in recession, their pensions are higher and more predictable. If we ask them to accept pay cuts or lose their defined benefit pensions now, we are going to have to pay them better in the good times, otherwise who would want to work in the public sector at all?
Gill, London

Junior school children and teacher in classroom

I recently went in to the public sector after a successful career in the private sector. Looking at the quick return of the bonus culture in the City, why should a newly qualified school teacher on £20k share the pain with the head of an effectively nationalised and failed bank on a potential £8m? There is pain in the real economy, the industrialised heartlands, but the pain in the financial sector hasn't stopped a pretty quick return to the bonus culture.
Ross, Stoke

I don't work in the financial industry but in the public sector - not in a cushy, there-for-ever job, but on short-term contracts and I work very hard.

I feel I must comment on Mark's diary in which he complains that there is no sense of us all "being in this together". How can he expect anything else? We have lived through a long period of unbridled capitalism - which perhaps dates back to when Mrs Thatcher said that there was "no such thing as society". How can we pull together when fierce competition seems to be the only way our economy can survive?

You can't have the financial world playing fast and loose with people's money and splashing the cash and not expect the rest of us to want a piece of the action!
Marilyn Sandy, London

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