Union baron criticizes Jacob Rees-Mogg in WFH war, warns ‘passive-aggressive’ notes on empty desks will ‘demotivate’ officials
- Jacob Rees-Mogg left notes on empty desks at the Cabinet Office last month
- Civil servants’ union is told that flexible working must be abolished
- FDA General Secretary Dave Penman says Whitehall is missing something
- Mr Penman told Prime Minister: ‘Culture war against the civil service must stop’
A union leader will take an extraordinary swipe at Jacob Rees-Mogg today for an attempt to get officials back to office.
Dave Penman, the general secretary of the FDA – a union for civil servants – will accuse the secretary of discouraging talented people from applying for jobs in Whitehall.
Mr Rees-Mogg left notes on empty desks in the Cabinet Office last month that read: ‘Sorry you were gone. I look forward to seeing you at the office soon.’
The government efficiency minister has said officials should stop working from home and return to the office.
And last night he suggested they be back in the office four days a week.
He told ITV’s Peston there is “a desire for people to take Monday and Friday off to work from home”, which “indicates there is no serious work attitude, it is about extending the weekend”.
He added: ‘[Education Secretary] Nadhim Zahawi asks people to be back four days a week, which I think is a very reasonable goal.”
It comes after it was announced yesterday that staff will not be given a ‘standard’ right to work from home, despite previous predictions that legislation would be passed on the issue.
Jacob Rees-Mogg left notes on empty desks in the Cabinet Office last month
Speaking to the FDA’s annual conference in London today, Mr Penman will denounce the secretary’s notes as “crusty, condescending and passive aggressive.”
The union represents top civil servants.
The union leader will say to members, ‘Can you imagine a private sector director treating his staff like this?
Or someone pointing out to the press that their staff is lazy and thereby undermining their top executives?
“So while the private sector has embraced this quiet revolution in work practices, making employers more efficient and flexible for employees, we have Jacob Rees-Mogg, using his clipboard and his clicker counting people at desks, wandering through Whitehall.
“And of course it’s just Whitehall. It’s as if he doesn’t understand that most officials are outside the M25.
“Tens of thousands of civil servants… all being told to forget about flexible working.”
Mr Penman said the job title of the minister for government efficiency ‘sounds Orwellian’.
He also added that it is “inefficient to get £150,000 a year to roam through offices” and “demotivate hundreds of thousands of officials”.
Mr. Penman said that Mr. Rees-Mogg was in effect telling potential recruits, ‘Join the civil service.
‘Be micro-directed, humiliated… get paid a fraction of what you would get elsewhere and of course you can forget about flexible working now.’
The union leader said his message to Boris Johnson was that the “culture war against the civil service must end”.
He added: ‘You say you want a brilliant civil service and you want to attract the brightest and best to join it. Well, this is not the way to go about it.
“Challenge us to deliver, be clear about your priorities, but step back and let those in charge do their thing.”
Rees-Mogg told the Daily Mail last month that officials should use their plush London offices or ‘lose’ them.
He released a photo of an empty section of the Cabinet Office after leaving notes for absent staff.
Source: New feed