Overtime ban called across HMRC beginning on Friday, 4 October.
The PCS Group Executive Committee (GEC) in HMRC agreed at its recent meeting to approach the National Disputes Committee (NDC) seeking permission for an overtime ban to be put in place across the department in pursuit of the demands of our national campaign.
The NDC has now granted approval and a notice of industrial action short of strike was served on HMRC CEO Lin Homer last Friday. The notice makes clear that this action will commence this Friday (4 October) and will run until 30 November 2013. The action short of strike will take the form of an overtime ban covering all PCS members on all sites.
This action means that no PCS member employed by HMRC should work overtime until further notice.
The Overtime Ban has been called in pursuit of our national demands. One of those demands is for the Protocols on avoiding compulsory redundancy to be fully applied. There is a growing staffing crisis in HMRC and we are seeking a number of assurances from the employer with regard to this.
In particular, we are currently seeking clear assurances about the future of the 4,700 Fixed Term Appointment (FTA) staff currently employed in HMRC and, alongside this, firm commitments from the employer around staffing and resources to avoid overstretch and excessive workload amongst permanently employed staff.
Put simply, if there were adequate numbers of staff in the department, HMRC would not need to offer overtime to catch up on the growing backlog of work.
The overtime ban will be reviewed by the GEC at its meeting in November. In advance of this, the GEC will:
- Contact all Branches to assess the impact and effectiveness of the overtime ban to date.
- Consider future tactics around overtime based on soundings from Branches with a view to agreeing these at the November meeting.
- Begin a detailed dialogue with all branches around staffing in HMRC – noting that 50% of posts have been cut since HMRC as formed – in advance of the submission of a formal claim for a staffing agreement and the launch of a political and industrial campaign to promote our demands.
We are aware that many Branches have displayed strong support for the overtime ban to date.
Many Branches have picketed overtime every weekend on which it has been offered. The GEC thanks and commends those Branches for their efforts to date.
The GEC is also aware that, anecdotally, membership support for the ban to date has been extremely strong – despite the real financial hardship many members face as a result of years of pay restraint and rising living costs.
The support of members has been magnificent and we urge every member to continue to refuse overtime.
Overtime masks the impact of job cuts and the growing staffing crisis in HMRC. We all have a shared interest in demanding adequate staffing levels and that workload levels are manageable and not putting our health at risk.
Members suffering extreme financial hardship are reminded that we have both a Branch and a Group Hardship Fund. Applications to the fund can be made via your reps.