Ballot on Jobs & Staffing Campaign runs 28 April – 16 May
In January, PCS wrote to Lin Homer seeking centrally convened talks to reach an agreement on jobs and staffing that would address your concerns about a number of detrimental impositions and announcements that threaten thousands of jobs across HMRC. The reply from the Chief Executive made clear that she was unwilling to arrange a meeting to discuss your concerns.
Last month we wrote again to the Chief Executive, laying out more starkly our demands and highlighting a number of recent announcements, made without prior consultation or negotiation with PCS, which threaten thousands of jobs in HMRC. These include but are not limited to: the imposition of the discredited Performance Management system, the closure of all 281 enquiry centres, 3 voluntary exit schemes, the start of a consultation exercise to close 12 offices, privatisation of work in Benefits and Credits and Debt Management and Banking and a refusal to offer permanent jobs to over 3,000 members currently employed on fixed term contracts.
Since this second letter was sent we have been made aware of a decision to privatise post handling work, along with the announcement of the latest HMRC Business Plan which details further cuts and yesterday’s unilateral decision to scrap banked leave and vary leave anticipation and carry over arrangements, none of which have been subject to any consultation with PCS.
The Group Executive Committee (GEC) met on 16 March to receive a report on progress towards achieving a Jobs and Staffing agreement with HMRC. Despite repeated attempts to secure meaningful negotiations, HMRC continue to refuse to meet with PCS. The GEC unanimously agreed that it is now clear that your demands cannot be achieved through negotiation alone and that there should be a ballot of all PCS members in HMRC.
The ballot asks all members to vote to take strike action and action short of strike in pursuit of our demands, which are:
- An agreement on staffing to ensure that there are enough staff to do the work.
- Permanent jobs for all members on fixed term contracts.
- An end to all current privatisation exercises and a commitment not to outsource any HMRC work in future.
- A guarantee of no compulsory redundancies and no compulsory moves beyond reasonable daily travel.
- An end to office closures, and for HMRC to retain a visible face to face presence in our communities.
- An agreement on workload – reducing stress, over-stretch and demands on workers.
- An immediate scrapping of the discredited performance management system.
- A reduction in line managers’ spans of command, to reduce pressure and to allow managers to focus more on staff support and development.
- A fully funded HMRC tackling avoidance and evasion – but also putting public service delivery at the heart of everything it does.
The ballot will commence on Monday 28 April and will close on Friday 16 May 2014.
We are asking all members to reject HMRC’s vision of smaller, more flexible workforce concentrated in large urban centres. This will mean the closure of offices, forcing members to leave through an aggressive performance management system, the offering of voluntary exit packages and an end to a public facing department through the forced migration of taxpayers onto online filing and correspondence.
We are asking all members to vote in favour of PCS’s alternative vision for HMRC which requires: adequate staffing levels to close the Tax Gap and to provide a quality service to the taxpaying public, a visible face to face presence in all local communities, fundamental changes to the management of people such as the abolition of oppressive performance management policies and the development of rewarding jobs which are manageable and achievable.
We hope that Chief Executive, Lin Homer, and Chief People Officer, William Hague, will agree to talk to us and reach an agreement that will protect our jobs and allow us to carry our core work of providing a service to taxpayers and reducing the Tax Gap. However, if they don’t we need to take action to make the employer listen to us.
During the ballot period, Branch reps will be distributing more information on the campaign and how you can get involved. We will also be discussing the issue in workplace meetings. Make sure that you attend these meetings and have your say.
Please also be sure to check for updates on the branch website and on the R&C Group website.
Together we are strong and together we can win.
When your ballot paper arrives vote YES for strike action and YES for action short of strike.