The Civil Servants’ Union has vowed to fight for its members after the Department of Minor Annoyances and Irritations announced sweeping job losses. The DMAI, originally set up by Neville Chamberlain to take the British public’s mind off the impending war by focussing their ire on small but annoying irritants, recently pledged to reduce its staffing levels by a staggering 75%, mainly by outsourcing and natural wastage.
The DMAI first hit the headlines in January, when the Shower Temperatures Maladjustment division was outsourced to India following the early retirement its last remaining UK based operative. Since then it has also closed down the Itchy Underpant Label division, citing the worldwide rise in starch prices.
According to union officials, getting rid of label starchers was just the tip of the iceberg. ‘Our members in the New Trainers division are also being targeted.’ claimed one shop steward. ‘Senior management reckon that it’s more cost effective to employ child labourers at source in Bangladeshi sweatshops to add that annoying squeak in new trainers, rather than pay British civil servants to do it over here. But to me that’s just using prevailing geo-economical realities as an excuse.’
However Charlotte Mullins, Minister without Conscience and head of the DMAI, insists that job cuts must be made in order to save tax payers’ money. ‘For example, the increase in supermarket milk means we no longer need staff to pull milk bottle tops so taut that your thumb goes through them.’ she told reporters.
Mullins is also at pains to point out that there is a silver lining to this streamlining, as some employees will be transferred to departments where workloads are higher than ever. ‘We have several vacancies in the Broadcasting Media department, where we are working on a project to stop all Freeview and satellite recorders being able to fast-forward over adverts. And as winter approaches and the central heating gets turned on, job opportunities will open up in the Radiator department – assuming you can whistle at a suitably irritating frequency.’
(Written 1 Oct 2009)