The Profession of Government: The Public Service in Europe

By Brian Chapman | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 15
Public Service Trade Unions

Viewed in proper perspective the problems and machinations of the individual public official are overshadowed by the mass public servant, the associations of public officials organized to protect the interests of their members. Public service unions have become part of the fabric of the state in many countries, and in no country can they any longer be ignored.

Fifty years ago in most countries public service associations were either friendly societies or banned institutions. Their power now lies in their numerical strength and its potential electoral importance to politicians. This is reinforced by the fact that they are the accepted spokesmen for those employed by the state. Their aim is to protect the interests of the state in so far as those interests coincide with the interests of their members. Indeed, some extremists have held that the body of civil servants is the state.

Civil servants represent both themselves and the state. Negotiations between civil service unions and the state are duologues between a small group of designated civil servants acting the part of employer, and another group of civil servants acting as representatives of the employees. The result has been greatly to increase the power of civil service unions within the machinery of government and to make possible the unique conditions of service enjoyed by civil servants. For a long time, for example, there has been an excellent case for restricting the right to established posts to the relatively small group of civil servants whose work is sufficiently important to the state to warrant their being given the best conditions of service. This was the original intention behind the German distinction between Beamten and Angestellten. The great majority of public servants in the manipulative, clerical and executive

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The Profession of Government: The Public Service in Europe
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Preface 5
  • Contents 7
  • PART ONE - COMPOSITION 45
  • Chapter 2 - Recruitment 74
  • Chapter 3 - Training 99
  • PART TWO - CONDITIONS OF SERVICE 131
  • Chapter 5 - Security of Tenure 145
  • Chapter 6 - Pensions 153
  • Chapter 7 - Discipline 158
  • Chapter 8 - Promotion 164
  • PART THREE - CONTROL 179
  • Chapter 10 - The Structure and Personnel of Administrative Courts 199
  • Chapter II - The Powers of Administrative Courts 206
  • Chapter 12 - The Ombudsman 245
  • Chapter 13 - Financial Control 260
  • PART FOUR - POLITICS AND PUBLIC 271
  • Chapter 15 - Public Service Trade Unions 296
  • Chapter 16 - Public Officials and the Public 308
  • Bibliography 323
  • Index 345
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