Tomorrow, a week of rolling regional strike action in HM Revenue & Customs reaches its climax in the North West of England. Ahead of the final day, which will see members of Bootle Taxes Branch take to the picket lines against job cuts, office closures and privatisation, here are some reports and pictures from the week thus far.
Day One: Scotland and northern England
In Scotland, strikers were in place from 5am and there was 94% support for the action. There was 95% support for the strike in East Kilbride and pickets were in place from 7am.
At Caledonian House in Dundee there was a 90% turnout while only 16% of staff went in to work at HMRC Bathgate near Livingston and there was support from MSP Neil Findlay, chair of the PCS Scottish parliamentary group.
About 85% of staff didn’t turn up for work in Stirling, Glenrothes, Falkirk, and 3 sites in Edinburgh, with 3 picket lines at Grayfield House.
In Aberdeen four pickets were on duty from 6am, with approximately 80% out on strike.
In Inverness 65% of people are on strike, with 4 reps and 3 supporters on the picket line.
It was a similar story across the northern region, with 90% on strike out of 244 members in Workington and a 90% turn out at Waterview Park, Washington. Only 64 out of 542 staff went in to work at George Stephenson House, Stockton.
The strike held up well in Peterlee and at the huge Benton Park View the action has been well supported.
Day Two: Yorkshire, Humberside and the east of England
After Monday’s successful action by members in Scotland and the north of England, the week of rolling action against job cuts, office closures and privatisation continued to be well supported as it moved into its second day.
The picket lines in Cambridge and Southend reported that they had successfully turned back several members of staff and in Southend they had also prevented the post from being delivered to the building.
In Bradford, where the picket lines were in place since before 7am, turnout was over 90% across all business streams.
Paul Tillyer, branch secretary, said: “Members and non-members decided to go home. 90% of PCS members, across all business streams, have stayed away from work today signalling to Lin Homer and Excom that they do not agree with HMRC’s vision of the future. Members have done themselves proud.”
Day Three: London and the south of England
Jamie Young, branch secretary of Revenue and Customs Bristol West Country branch, said that there had been an unprecedented level of support for the strike in his workplace where they had had 8 pickets covering the multiple entrances.
“This is the highest level of support I have seen for a strike in many years. The impact of PMR has led to a deeply unhappy workforce and has been the driving factor in persuading people to stay away from work today. Even management are voicing concerns about its implementation and have not turned up to work today. We are dealing with so many grievances and there have been no equality or diversity assessments: it is particularly affecting part time workers, the disabled and trade union reps.”
There was also a strongly supported picket at Euston Tower in London where members held ‘We all need a pay rise’ placards and others showing how the cuts have hit HMRC over the past decade. In 2004 there were 104,000 staff in HMRC, which had dropped to 64,500 last year.
Day Four: Midlands and Northern Ireland
In Coventry, where turnout was around 90%, members on the 12-strong picket line were interviewed by a raft of local media.
In Leicester, the pickets raised a sizeable amount for the group hardship fund.
In Northern Ireland branch secretary Barney Lawn warned: “The latest plans to sack another 22,000…..will lead to the kind of backlogs we’ve seen in other parts of the civil service such as the delays in the processing of passports, leading to an unacceptable level of customer service and further hardship for our undervalued, overworked and underpaid members.”
Day Five: Come and show your support
Picket lines at The Triad and Litherland House will be in place from before 7am, and due to the presence of our evening shift the line at the Triad will be staffed all day. All branch members are encouraged to join us on the line and supporters are also more than welcome to join us on the day. We’re determined to end the week on a high note and a full report will be posted in due course once the day is done.
Send solidarity messages to firstname.lastname@example.org
Find out more about the dispute on our campaigns page.