One of the features of today’s strike is the underlying notion that “It is not that the public sector is too big, but the private sector is too small”, often stated as “We shouldn’t get rid of 20,000 public sector jobs until we have private sector jobs to replace them”. Usually, advocates of this stance also oppose welfare reform.
This is a total cop-out.
The private sector can only create jobs if it is allowed to – most obviously, if people are encouraged to work in it.
The current huge public sector combined with a welfare system which actually impedes people getting into work directly hinders people from working in the private sector, and thus from having any chance to create further jobs.
Growing the private sector actually means encouraging people to work in it. The admission, even by the Unions, that public sector jobs are “high-paying” (it is funny how they say “low-paid” with regard to those on strike but “well-paid” with regard to the 20,000 jobs due to be cut through the Voluntary Exit Scheme…) is one impediment. Maintenance of a welfare system which pays even those who want to work to remain out of work is another. It is a disgraceful double whammy – and those advocating its maintenance are only trapping people in poverty, not helping them out of it.
It is perfectly understandable that so many people want to work in the public sector – it is, generally, where the best paid most secure jobs are. This reality cannot be left unreformed if we are serious about growing the private sector. To suggest otherwise is the ultimate irresponsible cop-out.