Thursday, November 26, 2009

Oh, Bugger.

Rumour has it that the CPSU have lifted their embargo on completing PMDS forms and reviews!

Just my fucking luck. I had a great summer not having to fill in countless stupid Interim Review. forms and now the annual reviews are here to bite me on the arse. Or papercut me on the arse. I don't know.

Yes, more of the same old treadmill of booking rooms, arranging meetings with clerical officers only to find that when you both get to the room, it's occupied by two trysting HEOs and then the clerical officer wants to go to the toilet and you say "Ok", and the CO goes off in the direction of the jacks and is never seen again because he/she had an inkling that you were going to give them a bollocking. Next time you have to do a review, you decide to hold the meeting in the toilets.

Or you might have to find a broom cupboard to have the meeting in, and then it's always with the smelliest CO in the building and being in a confined space with them makes you vomit up your lunch all over the form.

2010 will be easier in terms of not having as many meetings. (I will have more real work to do, but that's fine - not as annoying.) The Department has shed some staff due to DSFA pinching them, there have been early retirements under the incentivised scheme, and of course, career breaks. There will be less pressure on the meeting rooms for PMDS appraisals with the staff we have left. I might even get a meeting room with a window this time around!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

'Allo, 'Allo

Bonjour, mes petits chouxfleurs!

As we all know by now, there will be une autre grève - another strike - next Thursday.

And, given the five mile tailbacks many of us had to endure when we fucked off to Newry yesterday, I thought maybe next time, let's go all out. Let's make a proper trip of it.

Why not France, I thought. Home of Champagne, Malbec, and ooh, it's Beaujolais Nouveau time round about now too! Think of all the Brie and runny Camembert we can pick up for our festive entertaining!

It's time for the ultimate public sector Booze Cruise!

Attention, Cherbourg, les fonctionnaires viennent.

PS: Private Sector: No torpedoes now. Season of Goodwill and all that.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Revolution's just a T-shirt away

"Bunch of WASTERS", screamed a driver, slowing down especially to make his feelings felt about our picket line. Our windswept, sodden picket line, not a hundred miles from one of the many flood-damaged areas.

Undaunted by this comment, or by the wind whipping up our holes, or the rain dampening our placards, we marched stoically on outside the Department. The more publicity-shy of us (including me) tried not to catch the eyes of the reporters from local radio.

Overwhelmingly, though, the attitude of the passers-by was supportive. Horns tooted, thumbs were raised and at one stage a person stalled their car in order to get out and applaud and cheer us. I was pleasantly surprised at this response, it could not have been better if we had been a lynch mob cheerfully garrotting Sean Fitpatrick, emasculating Roddy Molloy and delivering reverse colonics to the entire cabinet, and Bertie too.

And more to come on the 3rd December. It's unrealistic to think that we will avoid a pay cut in some shape or form. We are lucky to have jobs. If I had remained working in the private sector (where I gained most of my work experience to date), I would now be on the dole queue, as my old firm let go a third of its workforce recently.

Cutting the pay of the lower paid public sector workers simply because they are an easy target when the above named fuckmuppets - among many others - got away scot free is sickening. And this is the motivation behind my ticking "yes" to industrial action on the union ballot papers. And I am not alone.

And no, I wasn't in fucking Newry afterwards. I was at home making a nice curry.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Where's Noah when you need him?

They came from all over the county, even in spite of the inclement weather. They braved floods, fallen trees, plagues of locusts, frogs, airborne germs, even car stereos stuck on local radio stations.

They overcame all these obstacles.

For the forms.

There was a tremendous sense of camaraderie in the Department this morning as each staff member arrived with a tale of woe about their journey to work. Each of us regaled the others with the gory details, like war veterans comparing scars. The dripping rain gear on the coat stands and the sodden umbrellas bore grim testimony to the battles fought and won this morning.

The outdoor smoking area attracted only the diehard adherents of the weed today, and those experts who could manage to keep their fags lit.

Occasionally, when the howling gales outside made it seem as if the Department roof was going to be swept away, there was much shuddering and invoking the Almighty: "God, will it ever stop?"

Departing colleagues were wished a safe journey home. Even the normally horrible ones who make me want to mount a rifle on my computer monitor.

The sense of "we're all in this together" was, I think, a foretaste of what we will experience on the picket lines next Tuesday. COs, EOs, HEOs and even APs picketing the gates of the Department and hopefully being choreographed well enough to not poke each other in the eyes with the sharp placard corners.

Striking paper pushers will elicit no sympathy from the passing public in this climate, and we will come in for abuse, I've no doubt. We'll be an easy target. But like today, we will cope by sharing war stories, this time over pints in a nice pub around the corner.

Mind you, the warm fuzzy feeling I had for most of the day disappeared rapidly when some sadist in the bowels of the building decided to inflict a Fire Drill on us. Bastard.