There was a sombre mood in Ash Street Church as the meeting began, with members shocked when they heard the full extent of what HMRC was attempting to do. Plans include using the expensive Building our Future meetings as a way to side-line the union and targeting of high profile reps and activists. Details of this were first revealed to PCS in a leaked document authored by Jonathan Donovan of Employer Relations.
Members debated a motion pledging support for the union, denouncing the union busting of HMRC and calling for a reinstatement of the overtime ban.
There was some debate on the issue of the overtime ban. In Bootle Taxes Branch, while the ban has been on there have been regular picket lines and only a tiny hardcore of staff working the overtime. Branch Secretary John Smith made the point that the overtime bill has shot up from £3m per week during the ban to £7.5m per week in its absence.
This not only demonstrates the high level of support for the ban but also the fact that the department is hugely relying on overtime while continuing to shed staff – because there aren’t enough people to do the job.
Branch Chair John Virtue made the additional point that the union is its members, not just the reps, and so an attack on the reps is an attack on everyone. By inhibiting the ability of reps to represent members individually and collectively, HMRC is leaving members vulnerable to both attacks from the employer and bad practices locally.
The motion was passed unanimously.
We would like to thank all members for attending and North Perk for providing our refreshments at the meeting. They went down a treat.