Firefighters will join up to two million public sector workers this Thursday as unions come together in co-ordinated industrial action to send a clear message to the government that we have had enough of austerity. Like all other public sector workers, firefighters are under attack from a government which is wrecking our public services and destroying the lives and futures of millions.
Austerity, and online petitions have much in common. Both are dominant online topics, and both have a polarising effect on opinion as to whether they can ever truly yield successful outcomes. Petitions seem to be becoming the reposte of choice for those affected by the worst effects of austerity, and today I read about a case that exemplifies this brilliantly.
Given that many of the jobs lost in manufacturing over the last forty years - it now accounts for less than 10% of the economy - were in 'traditional' areas of the country such as the North East and North West, to name but two, any increase in jobs that require making real things, as opposed to the service sector, would be welcome.
The idea that a British Government Minister should think it necessary to make a speech about the importance of culture must astonish Germans. For them, culture is as natural as breathing. The British have also made an exceptional contribution to culture and continue to do so but our reputation for philistinism in high places continues.
Like many organisations across the public sector, law enforcement agencies are expected to continuously improve their performance. Even when crime levels are low or falling, isolated failures are often put in the spotlight. This can in turn adversely impact public perceptions and decision-makers' reactions.
For people with cancer, being able to continue in or return to work can help them reclaim their life from the disease. It can provide a return to normality, restore their identity and self-esteem, and ease financial worries. But at Macmillan Cancer Support we know that people with cancer often face difficulties at work after their diagnosis. More than four in 10 people who are working when diagnosed have to make changes to their working lives, with almost half of them changing jobs or leaving work. There are more than 100,000 people of working age diagnosed with cancer each year in the UK.
Who would have thought it? Cutting people's benefits, when there are almost 14 times as many jobseekers as jobs, hasn't sent them all rushing back to work and is causing misery for those families at the sharp end of austerity. The Chartered Institute of Housing's report into the impact of the benefit cap in one area of London confirms what any reasonable person would have guessed. But the headline, that the cap is struggling to meet its aims of encouraging people into work and saving taxpayers' money, is I think rather generous.
The non-lazy and inconvenient answer for the public sector is to learn from the private-sector that approval of just two people matters - customers and shareholders. For that to happen sustainably clear targets to make customers satisfied so that either they come back again or recommend to others is crucial.
A good networker makes sure they have the right contacts and that their contacts are aware of what they have to offer. You can make contacts in many different ways, through introductions at work, through social media or through events or conferences. But however you make your contacts, you choose them for the right reasons.
Better ways of working would save the average employee five productive hours a week, which works out, in average salary terms, to around £4,200 per employee per year. Employers would also save £650 per employee on the cost of the desk space they occupy, and £100 on printing. The country as a whole would gain £6.9billion year in working hours gained.