Tens of thousands of tax workers to strike over job cuts dispute


Richard Jones

TENS of thousands of tax workers will strike this week in an ongoing dispute over job cuts, the Public and Commercial Services union announces.

Walkouts will affect HM Revenue and Customs offices tomorrow (July 30), Thursday (July 31) and Friday (August 1) and has been timed to coincide with the deadline for tax credit renewals and a key date for self assessment payments.

This follows a week of rolling strikes in HMRC in June as the union steps up its efforts to halt the cuts and persuade senior officials to agree a robust case to government for a fully resourced department.

A spokesperson for the Public and Commercial Services union said: "Years of successive job cuts have left the organisation unable to cope, with delays on telephone lines continuing, huge backlogs of post and private debt collectors being brought in to chase up tax credits overpayments.

"As well as cutting thousands more jobs, HMRC is continuing to close more of its offices – including all 281 walk-in tax enquiry centre, with a further 23 large sites across the UK facing imminent closure – and is planning to privatise more of its debt collection and post handling."

The department is making more than 2,000 fixed-term workers compulsorily redundant despite its own business planning revealing a huge staffing shortfall.

Central to the dispute is also the imposition of a discredited and widely unpopular performance management system that places an arbitrary 10% of staff each year at risk of disciplinary procedures and the sack.

Public and Commercial Services union general secretary Mark Serwotka added: "HMRC plays an essential role in our economy and our society, collecting the taxes that fund the other public services we all rely on. But it is being systematically undermined by unnecessary and politically-motivated cuts.

"These strikes demonstrate we are serious about stopping these damaging cuts and making a positive case for proper investment in this crucial department."


Wednesday, July 30: North West England and Wales
Thursday, July 31: Scotland and English midlands
Friday, August 1: Yorkshire and Humberside and northern England, London and the south east, south west and east of England and Northern Ireland

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