Members attended to instruct their delegates and take part in important policy debates despite having to do so in their own time. Thanks are due to all who attended as well as those reps who provided food and drinks or otherwise helped us run the event.
Among the issues touched on was HMRC’s Building Our Future programme, an ongoing propaganda exercise to sell cuts to staff, which the branch has already detailed the extortionate costs of. Motions to Conference offer two rival strategies for challenging the programme, one of boycotting the event and one of engaging with it in order to challenge it.
Arguments were heard for both sides of this argument. Some members were sympathetic to a boycott because HMRC had made a point of shifting the goalposts to avoid hearing critical or pro-union messages at the meetings anyway. Others argued that a boycott wouldn’t achieve anything except make the pro-management voices even louder.
When a vote was taken, the strategy of engagement narrowly won through and accordingly this is what delegates will argue in favour of at Conference.
Members also voted for a strong challenge to the department’s union busting, unanimously backing motions to get directors back to the negotiating table in Personal Tax and to challenge HMRC bosses over the leaked union busting document.
Among the motions to national conference, members voted to support motions on a claim for a £10 per hour living wage, a reduced working week without loss of pay, and consolidated progression pay.
Emergency motions from the branch were also passed on the jobs and staffing campaign and on challenging HMRC over backlogs of work. We will shortly publish all of the motions being put to Conference by our branch in a separate post.
The meeting closed with members holding up signs to show their support for victimised trade union rep John Pearson and for the motion our branch is putting to Conference regarding his case.
Once again, the branch thanks everybody who attended and contributed to the meeting. We will report back in due course on the decisions taken by Conference.