Today [Friday 21 January], HMRC and PCS are jointly announcing our agreement on a number of changes to working practices in contact centres (our joint statement is attached to this briefing). Chief among these changes is agreement to the roll out of Additional Flexible Working to all contact centres members on PN 103 contracts.
We are pleased that industrial relations have improved significantly over the last few months, despite some very difficult periods in our negotiations and we appreciate that the official side have moved a long way from their starting position to allow agreement to be reached. We also recognise that management do have a genuine commitment to improving contact centre working conditions.
However, PCS members should be under no illusions – this agreement would not have been achieved without significant pressure from PCS. This was in no small part due to PCS’ high membership density in this area of HMRC and our contact centre members’ overwhelmingly support for industrial action in the past. Members should therefore feel rightly proud that their strength is recognised by our employer.
PCS also hopes that this agreement can give confidence to members elsewhere in HMRC who may be feeling overwhelmed by the scale of attacks we are currently facing. This agreement proves that PCS can not only defend existing terms and conditions, but that we can secure new and improved terms and conditions for our members too.
There is clearly much more work to be done to finalise the detail of these proposals. We have agreed a framework for AFW which gives firm guarantees for members (which is attached to this briefing) but the other changes will be negotiated early in the New Year and we will provide much more information for members then. We will also need to look very carefully at how we evaluate these changes and we’ll be working closely with the official side to ensure that they and we understand exactly what we want to achieve and how we measure this so that further roll out will be successful and sustainable.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank John Smith from the GEC for the role he played in the negotiations, the CC chairs and secretaries who developed the strategy and members in Liverpool and Newcastle CCs who helped PCS to demonstrate that additional flexible working can work in contact centres.
Assistant Group Secretary