Australia's new government has outraged its public servants by banning taxpayer funded massages as part of an austerity drive, a minister said .
Assistant Treasurer Chris Bowen said public service chiefs have been told that they and their staff must pay for their own back rubs in the new government's clampdown on public sector waste.
"There are lots of very hard working people working 12 hour shifts in factories and digging ditches who would love a back rub at the end of the day, I am sure. But they don't get one," Bowen told OBB News.
"There are lots of public servants that work very, very hard and they need to be rewarded, but we've taken the view that this is not an appropriate way of rewarding them, maybe we'll use a gold star system and casual Fridays. " Bowen said.
Employees will no longer be allowed to blog during working hours, surf porn sites, take 20 minute power naps when they feel tired and no personal phones except in cases of emergencies.
Public servant Rob Landry said: " I am disgusted, a nice back rub in the middle of the day with a happy ending was the only thing that made my 8 hour day at the office with an hour for lunch bearable, if they try to take our gym memberships they will have trouble."
Holly Burton the owner of the " Happy Endings at the Office" traveling massage business says," The prime minister Kevin Rudd has really rubbed me up the wrong way, he certainly doesn't mind a happy ending but now I have to lay off some of my best hands. This is a tense time for me."
Ms Burton then went on to list reasons to keep the massages.
Immediate physical & mental relief from daily stresses
Reduction in absenteeism
Improve communication amongst staff
Positive attitude change towards management
Demonstrates management commitment to staff welfare
Motivates staff & improves office morale
Assists in fulfilling company OH&S obligations
Convenient service that comes to your office during the day
Balances Work/Life commitments
Invaluable tool for Retention
The most recent figures produced in Parliament showed that bureaucrats spent $98,871 in public money on rub downs in 2005. While not all public servants are eligible for the perk, those that were spent an average of $376 for the year.
The public sector massages cost up to $13 for 15 minutes and $25 for 10 minutes with a happy ending.