Newsround: Prison staff strike

According to data published on the BBC site, these are the average salaries for prison officers.

Auxiliary staff: £13,318
Storeman: £14,942
Night patrol: £14,084
Entry officer min: £17,744
Prison officer: £27,530
Senior officer: £29.371
Principal officer: £31,913

The results of the 2006 ASHE show that median weekly pay for full-time employees in the UK grew by 3.7 per cent in April 2006 to reach £447. Median earnings of full-time male employees was £487 per week in April 2006; for women the median was £387

Source: Source: Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings

I wouldn’t say working in a prison will be one of my top choices when it comes to find a place to work. Neither that I would say that it’s a job that people should not feel like taking; but it is a tough one and for what I can read it’s not the best paid job in the U.K.

Beyond the ideas people might have about what officers do and how they do their job, the truth is that they have to deal with criminals whom, perhaps, are mostly not necessarily dangerous, but thinking of the way we criminalise everything nowadays, I am sure that overcrowded prisons won’t help to carry a job that must create high levels of stress.

How do we quantify how much should the government pay for that stress is a question that I am not willing to answer, but surely money must balance the needs for an appropriate job environment and quality of life.

I don’t normally support wild strikes that cause more disruption to the general public than to the company or government that unions try to negotiate with. But I did feel some sympathy for yesterday action. Mostly because I felt they had not much room to manoeuvre.

I guess the bottom line is, once again, not just about wages and work conditions but also about Home politics policies that focus more on get more people in prison rather than tackling the causes of their behaviour.

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The funny bit: Another English weather one

THE PRICE IS £1.72,THE CHANGE IS..ERM..

I won’t show off being a mastermind in Maths, not at all. I just managed when I was at school and even nowadays I would not say I am the most eager person when it comes to numbers.
Saying that, I reckon I am not that bad. I guess it helped the fact I worked in Catering in the past and I had to deal with money most of the times. Using a till register was something of a routine, therefore taking money and giving change was part of the job.

It was during those years that I first noticed how difficult was for many people to deal with money-let’s say that was what I thought at the beginning. Then, I realised that the problem wasn’t the coins and notes but a lack of confidence when carrying Maths operations or taking money.


For instance, I did experienced the above yesterday when I stopped to buy a soft drink in a Superdrug store. First of all, I would like to give some credit to the sales assistant, he must have been nervous with the till which made things even worse.

The point is that I was asked for £1.72 for my transaction for which I handed a £10 note and 22 pence. First, there was some kind of frightened look in his eyes, that feeling of fear that something goes not quite to the usual note only handing process.

Then, once he accepted the money and placed it on his hand, he stared at it, as if the coins and the piece of paper with the Queen on it were some kind of poisonous items. He gazed at the till for a brief time and finally entered the money in the drawer and stayed still for a while.

I, in the meantime, has already made all the transaction in my head, handed myself back the exact change of £8.50 and placed the 20p and 2p coins in their appropriate compartment.
After some struggle with coins in and out of the sales man’s palm, I managed to get my change, which I will say was right.

The point is that we are not used to deal with numbers, we live in a world where calculators or even mobile phone book have replaced our need to use numbers. We are mostly pretty bad when it comes to numbers -as I said, I won’t put myself in the top ten for sure-. But, after all, I couldn’t be, if any, empathic to the person behind the till. After all, it wasn’t his fault at all.

TRIED AND TESTED: GAYDAR

The almighty Gaydar website, or at least in the United Kingdom. If you have not created a profile, then you are welcome to keep reading. On the other hand, if you have already done it like I did long time ago, then you might consider to share your point of view. Either way, here is my review of the website.

Gaydar has been around for many years and contributed to the gaydar phenomenon in the U.K., especially in London. Years ago it become small talk in many conversations, gay men started asking each other about their profiles. Those who were left wondering what that internet gay-something was, soon run to their computers and logged on to find out.

Recently, the company was on the news since one of the co-founder died leaving a fortune to be shared by his partner in the business and the tax man -a good sign that when it comes to money, sexual tendencies don’t count and the company did well.

Who is it for?
Gay men, since girls have their own one, proof of the ability of the company to cater for different markets within the gay community. From average blokes to twinks, from muscle boys to bear types. From sex parties offers to share a flat, from people looking for friends to people showing their art work. Photos range from the arse-and-cock to a normal close-up face shot-though the site has seen an increase of profiles in which people spent more than a few pennies on having photos taken professionally.

How much would it cost you?
The free option is recommended if you just want to do occasional browsing without risking being glued to the PC monitor for hours -I swear it can happens.

There are different membership options; my advice, try it for a month and if you like then take a long membership, it will cost per month the same money you would spend on a pint.

What’s the style like?
Probably one of the most accepted, simple and quite easy to customise layout. The options depends much on whether you are in a paid or free membership. Still, it will allow you to have a main photo plus four secondary ones and a limited amount of messages. Those in membership also have a photo album and unlimited messages plus better searching options.

Do I recommend it?
Sure I do. But there’s a Health and Safety warning. Do not get addicted. If you start typing things like this: iams not farr awawy, then you should consider taking a break from it for a few days.

Sex factor.
The strange thing is that they do run a sex factor competition, too.
But, would you get laid using it? Things have changed over the last few years, I believe, and there’s more of browsing activities than real let’s meet action. Saying that, you should not be far away from a shag if you pursue it.

The funny bit: Reality Tv

HEDGE FUNDS OR MASOCHISM

Back on time a few years ago and I remember reading about the risks that Hedge Funds were, they went on explaining that in a long term, anyone who invested in them could lose everything.

Now, it seems we didn’t listen to the warning. I suppose the whole process of getting into such a mess has to do with some kind of soft Masochism ,enjoyed by those who play with money. I guess the thrill of the risk, the need to be richer quicker and easier than before, push people to the point to risk everything. All of that knowing that when things go wrong, the pain could be excruciating; there are already people worry about losing their houses and the amount of debt they hold, and though not related with the current problem of the Hedge Funds crisis, it could increase if there is a domino effect.

The global economy is going through a test which is not much different from others passed or failed in the past. Perhaps, this time is harder to assess the consequences of a big crisis since globalisation has made everyone linked in some kind of pieces of Lego. We know we can do many things with them, different shapes and it all will look stable and strong. But, these pieces of Lego that worldwide economies are, they are not so strong neither so stable. They are not joint together firmly and able to hold any shaking.

The lack of trust from Bank to Bank is one of the reasons of the current crisis and it also highlights that no matter what activity we choose , as long as it’s run and operated by human beings, there will always be some level of mistrust.

I am sure that we get over this crisis -not matter what the results are-, I am so certain as I am that shortly after there will be another magic financial product with many risk involved and there will be plenty of people to go for it. It’s just a matter of Masochism.

PAPUA NEW GUINEA AND HIV

We don’t appreciate what we have. It’s a fact. We take for granted so many things that we have forgotten what it’s like to be without them. We talk about civil liberties, rights and what’s right and wrong, but we don’t remember that it’s not everyone can enjoy those things everywhere.

On today’s news browsing, I read this piece of news that gave a shiver, a feeling of desperation and sense of lack of humanity. In one of the countries in Australasia, Papua New Guinea, those people who are afflicted by the modern plague of HIV, must not just suffer the health risks that the sickness involves, but they are also under the threat of their own relatives who, afraid of the illness, might decide to bury the sufferers alive as a member of one of the charities working in the country revealed in the newspaper.

This is just one of the many cases around the world in which what we called common sense, have more of common and less of sense. We, human beings, tend to believe we have achieve some level of understanding for each other. I doubt so, I really do. Nevertheless, that’s not the point in here. The aim should be to eradicate these practices with tools that contribute to a better society. Religion isn’t one of them, I am afraid. Education is.

It’s not guaranteed that by giving the right tools to someone, they will build a home that feel right and comfortable. But, at least, they will have the choices to do whatever they feel it’s the best out of that knowledge. Not having that, condemn to leave in most of the times in the equivalent of a shanty home where it’s all uncertain.

I hope news like this about people being buried alive because of the HIV status are not even printed in the future. So far, there only thing left to fight it is education.