'Outrageous slur': Head of TUC organisation blasts PM's WFH coffee and cheese comments

14 May 2022, 13:01

'It's an outrageous slur': Head of TUC organisation blasts PM's WFH coffee and cheese comments
'It's an outrageous slur': Head of TUC organisation blasts PM's WFH coffee and cheese comments. Picture: LBC/Alamy/Kevin Rowan Twitter

By Tim Dodd

Boris Johnson's comments that working from home involves "making another cup of coffee" or "hacking off" pieces of cheese is a "poor admission" about the quality of work that the PM delivers, argues Head of Organisation and Services at the TUC Kevin Rowan.

It comes after the PM told MailOnline that working from home doesn't work, saying: "My experience of working from home is you spend an awful lot of time making another cup of coffee and then, you know, getting up, walking very slowly to the fridge, hacking off a small piece of cheese, then walking very slowly back to your laptop and then forgetting what it was you're doing."

Mr Rowan reacted to his comments: "There's so much evidence to counter the kind of crass and off-the-cuff comments of the Prime Minister... it sounds like complete folly.

"I think it demonstrates just how out of touch he and other ministers are with employers, with workers, and with the world of work.

"Just the admission that for him he ends up slowing down, eating cheese and struggling to kind of get through the day - that's a really poor admission about the kind of quality of work we're getting from our Prime Minister."

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Mr Rowan said employers and workers alike are saying that working from home is a much better way of working when it's balanced with office work.

Ben Kentish asked Mr Rowan if working from home policy needs to be left for employers to decide, rather than government policy.

"Absolutely... Most smart employers have management systems that enable and trust colleagues rather than this sense of command and control and 'if I don't see you in my eyeline you can't possibly be working'", he said.

"And that I think it is really worrying because we've had a civil service that has got us through the most difficult period in our recent history, working extremely hard... extremely innovatively, and for Jacob Rees-Mogg and the Prime Minister to essentially indicate we don't trust these people - it's an outrageous slur on the work that those people have done for us all in the last couple of years."

Jacob Rees-Mogg has insisted Boris Johnson's plan to slash civil service jobs by a fifth will see the Government do better, not less.

There are about 475,000 civil servants, the largest amount since 2010 – and a new target of cutting 91,000 jobs over two years has been set.

Mr Rees-Mogg was also previously criticised for leaving "crass, demeaning" notes on the empty desks of civil servants to stop them working from home.

The minister for government efficiency is on a drive to encourage public servants back to the office after the coronavirus pandemic.

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