My local Council has just sent me my Council Tax bill for 2011 - 2012. I'm Band C, live alone, so it's going to cost me £988.32 - the 32p is no doubt for the enclosed 32 page booklet telling me what they think I get for my money, with lots of helpful information:
"We recycled more than 50,000 bras in 2010" (page 3).
You mean you have someone counting them? (But I give you credit for the humorous touch. Page Three indeed!)
Anyway, to get to the point, the whole of the back page is given over to demonstrating the havoc wrought by Public Holidays. "Easter 2011 & Royal Wedding" it's headed, "Refuse and recycling collection dates". Yep, you guessed: between Friday 22 April and Friday 13 May, refuse collection is going to break down, with no less than four Saturday catch-up collections needed to cope with the chaos created by the Church of England and William Windsor and his girlfriend.
What is it really about? Do our refuse collectors want to go to Church on Good Friday and again on Easter Monday and then, come Friday, line the streets waving flags for the Happy Couple? Do they want to march through the streets of Brighton on May Day, demonstrating solidarity with refuse collectors around the world? (Behind them, a contingent of local GPs doing the same for doctors?)
No, they want the money from the Saturday catch - ups.
If you think only Greece has public sector scams, click to enlarge the back page of my A - Z guide to Brighton & Hove Services.
There is an alternative. Pay refuse collectors a decent salary with a thirty day holiday entitlement. Stay open all year and organise work on a rota. Expect workers to take their holiday entitlement on days which fit in with their own needs and preferences. Stop the Public Holiday scams, stop the Public Holiday chaos, return some dignity to the workforce.