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<b>Monday 27 April:</b> Disgrace of Town Hall time-wasters, the magnificent Johnny Roadhouse remembered and no beer price rise

Published on April 27th 2009.

THE MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS has chased up the appalling figures for town hall absenteeism in Greater Manchester. Overall in Manchester and Tameside a tenth of the workforce was ‘long-term sick’ (over three weeks) in 2008/9: more than 3500 people. The average town hall worker took almost 11.5 sick days off. Congratulations to the MEN for revealing this: proper daily 'paper journalism. JOHNNY ROADHOUSE’s funeral takes place tomorrow in Manchester Cathedral. This weekend there was a celebration of the saxophonist and music shop owner close to his shop on Oxford Road. Roadhouse, during his career played with the Beatles and the Halle. He died aged 88 earlier this month. Once, during an interview with the Confidential editor, he’d described what mattered: “The music, just the music. And being good at what you do. And having fun."

BREWER JOSEPH HOLT, one of four remaining family brewers in Greater Manchester, is not passing on the Budget’s two per cent tax rise on ale to its customers. After a good start to the year, albeit against the background of a crisis in British pubs, they don’t want to damage a delicate market.

FC UNITED narrowly missed out on the opportunity of a fourth consecutive promotion. The break-away club, formed in protest after Manchester United’s Glaser take-over in 2005, drew 1-1 with Bradford Park Avenue when they needed to win. The crowd at Gigg Lane, Bury, was over 3700. The crowd at Macclesfield, three divisions above FC United in the old fourth division, had 1,600.

This 'n' that wisdom*: Better to go back than go wrong

*Taken from the free calendar available at This 'n' That, Soap Street, Northern Quarter. Those curry masters are so very very sagacious. How does this wisdom rate? Confidential rating: 7/10

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17 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

CastlefieldApril 27th 2009.

Jack, to suggest that we're right wing for being annoyed at the public sector gravy train is what you'd expect from a communist. Public sector workers are overpaid, yes good employers are to be appluaded, but we as tax payers are the employer, so our views are valid. We pay for the over the top salaries, generous holiday allowance, sick leave, pension, never ending training courses etc etc and then get a bit put out when all we hear is 'we're overworked, we don't get paid enough, my union is voting on a strike, I'm stressed' I'm sure most readers would agree that if they went to their boss and demanded a pay rise this year, they'd be laughed at, yet teachers want 10% and other public sector workers are already getting in line to demand theirs. It's private companies that keep this country going and being an employer who shares an office building with several council departments, I can quite easily say their workers wouldn't last 5 minutes in the real world. There are exceptions, but not many.

JamesApril 27th 2009.

I can't believe the nightmare of local government employment. But you just have to walk round a town hall to feel the lack of enterprise there and the boredom which must contribute to the illness levels and sheer sciving. I'm sure there are good local government officers in fact I know there are, but these stats, almost two weeks extra holiday will make self-employed people like me, living on my wits, sick to the stomach.

DaveApril 27th 2009.

To be fair I think the pay is relatively crap in the public sector; you pays your money etc. I heard a huge chunk of council tax is paying for final salary pensions.

JackApril 27th 2009.

It is a great surprise and a huge sadness that the above seems to indicate that the majority of Confidential readers would feel much more comfortable with the Daily Mail or the Express. Employers with good working practices that care for their employees are to be applauded.

john meanarse keynesApril 27th 2009.

Surely better to pay people to be off work sick than add to the unemployment numbers - this is what is meant by 'economic stimulus' - paying people to do nothing in the hope that they'll go out and spend some of it in the shops.

vinistarApril 27th 2009.

ahem.....flexitime? 30 days holiday how can they be stressed? most people i know working for the council love it for the salary and the benefits they get....the local authority's should look at their recruitment methods i think

CastlefieldApril 27th 2009.

I've never been sure if public sector workers are made by nature or nurture. It's a totally different world. Do careers advisors pick out the overwhelmingly bland and unmotivated and point them to the council? If they're bored at work then I've a few suggestions, like work harder?! All the levels they have like level 4 office clerk (prob exists) is ridiculous. Where I live near the Castlefield Arena, 5 of them sit outside in a van ALL DAY, EVERY DAY. Yes they look bored but if they shifted their arses slightly sideways they could get all that litter out the canal they're supposed to maintain. If you've ever tried getting money out of the council they owe you, that's another matter altogether, they insist on being called Mr.? What? Is it still 1940 at the town hall?

Simon TApril 27th 2009.

Channel M - plug pulled. Anyone else heard this???

east lancsApril 27th 2009.

What's the "other info" regarding sickleave, maternity pay, holidays, pensions, etc?

CastlefieldApril 27th 2009.

Can I quote Council Worker 'In fact, I had more days off sick at my old job due to illnesses caused by stress', Nuff said really but I'll continue anyway. A lot of people find their jobs stressful at times, some very stressful. When I was younger I had bosses that left me in tears, but I carried on, got my head down and now earn enough to be worried about the new tax rate. Perhaps I should have not bothered, not given numerous people jobs, but wimped out into the public sector and had a job that never made me stressed because it was never going to test me! I thinks it's nature, these council workers are born!

EditorialApril 27th 2009.

Yes, we hear it's been a horrible day on Hardman Street, with lots of good people being made redundant and loads of rumours flying around about the fate of Channel M ( or Erm as we've called it). We'll try and sort it out, see what's happened.

CastlefieldApril 27th 2009.

Here's a few of those badly paid council jobs being advertised right now (can be checked on the website): Gardner 18k, Lolli-pop lady £6.76 an hour, Head Dinner Lady 22k, Admin officer 19k, Research officer 28k, Schools accountant 52k, Head of GMPTE 200k, Deputy head of GMPTE 150k. CREDIT CRUNCH? WHAT CREDIT CRUNCH?

Simon TApril 27th 2009.

Channel M - plug pulled. Anyone else heard this???

east lancsApril 27th 2009.

I guess they're all off sick 'cos of the stress of voting on reducing the working week by another half hour, or another payrise.

east lancsApril 27th 2009.

Dave, I'm saddened to tell you that the pay in the Public Sector really isn't crap, especially as one gets further up the ladder. This was even worse at the Uni I subsequently worked at.

John WareApril 27th 2009.

didn't they just get the freeview license?

Council WorkerApril 27th 2009.

I work for the council and have had no days off sick in the past year. I think the statistics have been skewed a little by the people that are on super-long term leave such as those suffering with cancer or other serious diseases that have several months off. I think one factor may be that the council is less ageist than the private sector from personal experience-and I know a few older colleagues have been on long term sick with serious diseases. Not their fault. Fact is the older you get the more susceptible you are to disease and i think mature workers can add a heck of lot to a company. I'd say on average, myself and my colleagues generally have about 3 days off sick per annum-I've noticed very little difference since moving from a private company. In fact, I had more days off sick at my old job due to illesses caused by stress.

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