This year’s AGM will be on Thursday 3rd March 2016 at The Beaky Social Club, Strand Road, Bootle from 13:30. Lunch will be provided at the venue.
You can download the AGM pack as a PDF document here or read the text version below.
- Branch election results
- Minutes of last AGM
- Financial report
- Branch reports
- Chair’s opening remarks
- Minutes of the last AGM
- Matters Arising
- AGM Elections
c. Branch Women’s Advisory Committee
- Branch Election Results
- Financial Report
- Branch reports
- Group and National Nominations
- Branch Motions
- Motions to Conference
- Raffle draw
- Chair’s closing remarks
Branch election results
|Vice Chair||Bernadette Parkes|
|Deputy Treasurer||Dave Gibbons|
|Training & Education Officer||Brian Allen|
|Equalities Officer||Debi Clisham|
|Women’s Officer||Sharon O’Neill|
|Young Members Officer||Position vacant|
|Environmental Health & Safety Officer||Helen Sheridan|
|Delegates to PCS Group and National Conferences
(4 to be elected – vote to take place at AGM)
Minutes of last AGM
24 Feb 2015 – Ash Street Church
|Chair’s Opening Remarks||John Virtue welcomed meeting. Straight to agenda.|
|Apologies||John Smith, Tony Hand, Phil Murphy|
|Minutes of the last meeting||Agreed|
|(Scrutineers) –Margi Henderson, Sarah Malone
(Auditors) – Issue to be taken back to Branch
(BWAC) – Justine Lloyd; Rosetta Luca; Haley Caruana; Helen Sheridan, Carolyn Kinsella – All Accepted
|Branch Election Results||Accepted|
|Treasurer’s Report – Accepted
All other Branch Reports – Accepted
|Group & National Nominations||No GEC or NEC nominations as elections have been cancelled.
LGBT Committee – Elayne Henderson – Accepted
|Branch Constitution Motion||Moved by Phil Dickens – Motion Carried|
|Motions to Conference||(Group #1) Moved by Phil Dickens – Motion Carried
(Group #2) Moved by Phil Dickens – Motion Carried
(Group #3) Moved by John Virtue – Motion Carried
(Group #4) Moved by John Virtue – Motion Carried
(Group #5) Moved by John Virtue – Motion Carried
(Group #6) Moved by John Virtue – Motion Carried
(Group #7) Moved by John Virtue – Motion Carried
(National #1) Moved by Phil Dickens – Motion Carried
(National #2) Moved by Phil Dickens – Motion Carried
(National #3) Moved by Sarah Malone – Motion Carried
(National #4) Moved by Phil Millar – Motion Carried
(National #5) Moved by Phil Dickens – Motion Carried
(Emergency Motion #1 – Branch) Movement to Work – Moved by Phil Dickens – Motion Carried
(Emergency Motion #2 – Group) Movement to Work – Moved by Phil Dickens – Motion Carried
(Emergency Motion #3 – Group) Tax Justice – Moved by John Virtue – Motion Carried
|Chairs Closing Comments||Chair gives an overview of what happens at conference.
Chair thanks everyone for attending
|Date: EOY 2015|
|Previous Balance||191.78||ending from last report|
|PCS Monthly payment||2284.30|
|Deposits / Receipts||0.00|
|Total of claims for period||1324.07|
|Outstanding cheques||48.15||not yet cashed|
|Actual Balance||1200.16||EOY FIGURE|
|Yearly expenditure to date||1324.07|
|% of total||53.7|
|Comments (more details about items above if needed.)|
|Bootle Taxes Branch 2015 Expenditure broken down: (in £)|
|Branch Executive Committee Meetings||50.00|
|Branch Officers Expenditure||140.15|
|Printing, Stationery, Postage||672.65|
The accounts have been closed for 2015 and the expenditure of the Branch account consisted mainly of costings for meetings for members, (including occasional refreshments), reimbursement of the cost of travel for Reps to attend Personal case meeting (E/T’s, One–to-ones) and the cost of issuing printed materials to members.
As ever, a written breakdown and copy of all Accounts for 2015 are available for members to view either here at the AGM, or from the Treasurer namely Wendy Johnston, and/or Vice Treasurer Dave Gibbons.
Currently awaiting confirmation of Funding for 2016 from PCS.
- Total Income £2284.30 via payment from PCS.
- Total Expenditure £1324.07.
- Balance as of 01/01/2016- was £1200.16 in credit.
- Total Income £0.00 for 2015.
- Total Expenditure £75.00, one claim for assistance.
- Balance as of 01/01/2016- was £613.35.
Branch Learning Account
- Total Income £0.00 for 2015.
- Total Expenditure £0.00.
- Balance as of 01/01/2016- was £674.70 in credit.
Branch Secretary’s Report
This year, like all in recent memory, has been a difficult one for staff in HMRC. Continued attacks by the now majority Tory government have made our jobs harder and for less reward. Despite these attacks, we have managed to pull together and stay strong, out membership figures are still healthy and way beyond what the Tories thought they’d manage by removing Check-Off. We’ve shown that we’re a branch who will stick together and resist the actions of a Government that want us weak and helpless.
In November, HMRC announced it was going to look at restructuring its office structure, consolidating most of its staff into a few large sites around the country. Since that announcement, it’s become increasingly clear that this restructure will mean jobs going. By the end of this programme, HMRC want to have a maximum of 3,100 Full Time Equivalents in Liverpool, currently, HMRC have around 4,500 staff in the area, meaning we’re looking at losses of 1 in 4 jobs in Merseyside going.
People leaving over the next 4 years isn’t going to make up that gap, so unless we fight back now, we are looking at job losses. To fight against these redundancies, we’ve worked with the community of Bootle, who will also be badly affected as the plans will devastate the local economy, and rallied local politicians to this cause. Other branches around the country are doing the same and organising a fight back against these draconian measures that will cause havoc with our ability to do our jobs.
I’d like to thank everyone who worked hard this year in the Branch and to the members for their continued support and help this year. We have always been known as a branch that works hard and sticks together and the last year shows that. Looking ahead, it is important that we remember this and carry on in the face of what is certain to be another year of cuts and attacks.
On a personal note, I would like to thank everyone who has supported me in taking up the role of Branch Secretary and for your patience while I get to grips with it.
– Phil Millar, Branch Secretary
Bootle Taxes Branch’s membership density is as follows:
|Workplace||Members||Potential Members||Density (%)|
|HMRC Bootle – Litherland House||227||286||79.37|
|HMRC Bootle – The Triad||1089||1418||76.80|
|ISS Contract Cleaners||12||12||100.00|
If you know anybody who is not a member of the union, try and encourage them to sign up. We have more influence and we are stronger when we stick together, so although we already have a high membership in the branch the more people who join only makes us better placed to challenge attacks from the employer.
Non-members can join the union by getting a form from a rep, or online at pcs.org.uk/join
As well as joining the union, we want all members to become active where they are able.
Your reps are able to represent you in personal cases, deal with health and safety issues, offer learning opportunities and negotiate with management. However, ultimately the strength of a union is in its members. The more of us who take an active role, the more pressure we can put on the employer to give us what we want.
This is where the Advocate role comes in. This isn’t a rep position, but a way for all members to be the voice of the union. Advocates give as much or as little time as they are able, in order to help give PCS a bigger presence in the workplace.
This could include simple things like handing out leaflets, letting reps know what issues to take to management, or encouraging others to attend union meetings. It could involve attending, and encouraging others to attend, demonstrations and picket lines. Most important of all, it shows the employer that ‘the union’ isn’t just the reps – it’s the workforce and they have to listen to us!
If you want to be an advocate, let a rep know either in person or by email.
The Battle for Bootle
Following the announcements in November, members in Bootle launched the ‘Battle for Bootle’ campaign to oppose HMRC’s office closure programme. This is one of a number of local campaigns around the country and also feeds into an HMRC-wide campaign that the union’s Group Executive Committee is running.
The decision to close all 170 existing offices mean that jobs and commerce are stripped out of local areas like Bootle, with a knock on effect to the local economy, other jobs and the wider area. This will directly affect the nearly 700 PCS members who live in Bootle as well as working here.
But even if you don’t live in Bootle and can ignore the effect on the community, this doesn’t mean you are safe. The recent issue of 156 compulsory redundancy notices even as we are recruiting 1,000 additional staff shows that the Department’s claim all job losses will come from natural wastage is a lie. Their own figures estimate 1 in 4 jobs will go in the North West – the equivalent to one person on every bank of desks in the branch.
2019-20 might seem a long way away, but it will be here before you know it. We can’t wait till it’s happening to fight back. That needs to start now. Planning meetings are happening regularly and there will be a demonstration on Budget Day, Wednesday 16 March. Find out more and get involved by speaking to a rep or by checking out the website: thebattleforbootle.wordpress.com
Justice for cleaning staff
As detailed in previous bulletins, the branch has made demands to ISS on behalf of our cleaner members for improved pay and conditions. These demands in full are:
- The Living Wage for all cleaners
- Occupational sick pay in line with civil servants
- Holiday entitlements in line with civil servants
- More staff and hours in order to reduce workloads
PCS nationally have taken up these demands, and I have been speaking to the responsible Full Time Officer about progressing a campaign on the subject. More details on this will be shared with the BEC and with all members as it progresses.
HMRC is determined to make it harder for the union to communicate with its members. You can frustrate them and keep in touch by ensuring that you’re registered to receive updates by email. Update your contact details online: pcs.org.uk/signup
– Phil Dickens, Branch Organiser
Branch Training Officer’s Report
There is not a lot to report this year due to the severe restrictions being placed on Rep’s Facility Time meaning the only training courses we are currently allowing are Stage 1 courses which is basic training of our TU, H & S and ULR’s.
This is not helped by the fact that Development and Learning within HMRC apparently does not extend to reps and is being blocked by some very enthusiastic HO’s. I would hope this situation would improve in the future but I am not holding my breath.
This will affect everyone in the future as the more experienced reps leave and we are left with a skills gap that cannot be replaced.
– Brian Allen, Branch Training Officer
Benefits & Credits Report
Over the past year within B&C we as a committee have managed to hold our own for a while now despite being relatively new reps with minimal experience and are relatively pleased with what we have achieved in a short time frame.
We have dealt with a few diversity incidents regarding inappropriate language towards ethnic minorities, dealt with a number of personal cases with some a positive results for PCS and the members involved, and managed to recruit more reps and members as well as a new H&S rep.
We have negotiated many things with management. This included adhering to the flexi time guidance and scrapping a rule, that was completely fabricated, to say you could only use flexi if you had worked at least 6 hours and that you had to plan it in also. Another was ending the practice of having minor misconducts placed into peoples files without their knowledge after they had a chat with their manager. We have also worked alongside management recently to sort out a situation involving the 18 north lights which caused a fuss as people were unhappy had been turned on, but after meeting with both HO’s and also the DSE assessor it was agreed that lights had met the health and safety standard for the lighting within the room.
We also helped out the staff within B&C regarding car parking spaces as they were not aware that they were eligible to get a car parking pass for them to use for a period of 3 months.
– Kris Marsden and Euin Owen, Benefits & Credits
Bootle Group Report
It has been a challenging 12 months in Bootle group with the move to phone work creating a number of issues. We have worked hard to ensure that members unsuitable for this type of work were not pressured into undertaking it. We have also been working to minimise the impact on those undertaking the work are not facing the pressures that pervade in the contact centres around call handling and wrap times.
Going forward we want to ensure a fair approach is taken, so members are not undertaking a disproportionate level of phone work, just because of their working patterns.
We have also seen the arrival of new members on the week end shift, and have a team of reps on that shift now who are helping us take numerous issues forward to ensure they are treated like other members in Bootle group.
Performance management continues to be of some concern, although we have secured agreement over the use of KPI to ensure in most instances this is not used negatively. We would encourage members to come forward with any concerns they may have about how this is used on their teams or spans.
Annual Leave continues to be an issue, and we have been concerned with the way previous leave exercises have been carried out, as they have often created problems rather than solving them. We have worked with management to try and prevent this type of issue arising in the future.
The coming year will also present numerous issues, especially with the roll out of customer service centres. We will fight to ensure whatever we are called members do not bear the burden of this change. We want to prevent the CSC becoming fixated on cc management techniques that create such a negative working environment. We will also work to prevent management by statistics are work towards an environment that respects everyone’s contribution.
Finally we would like to thank Steve Kearney, who has stood down as a rep this year, for his contribution to our committee over the last 15 years’; the last 5 of which were as office secretary.
– John Virtue, Branch Chair / Bootle Group Office Chair
Litherland House Report
Since the last AGM Litherland House has witnessed numerous significant changes.
We have welcomed the arrival of 60 number of members from the Triad contact centre. Included in this has been the entire Needs Enhanced Support team.
Although ostensibly a “flex site”, undertaking processing and taking calls, we have seen far more of the latter over the last 12 months. At the same time we are also having issues where people who want to take calls are being forced onto processing work. This highlights one of our key aims over the next 12 months; to get management to strike the right balance – planning resources in a way that benefits members as much as possible.
Litherland House has also become the test bed for Project work for central PT. this has included pilots on “Robotics”. These pilots are of some concern as all too often they are about cutting jobs, rather than making the job better. We would encourage members to continue to provide update s to your local reps of any issues and concerns they have with any pilots.
BOF will obviously have a major impact on members in Litherland House, as we face two relocations in the next 5-years if the department’s plans come to fruition. We are likely to see the start of the 1-2-1 process over the next 12 months so will encourage members to seek union advice.
HMRC Group Executive Committee
President Gerry Noble
Assistant Group Secretaries Ian Hough, John Smith
GEC ordinary members Chris Barclay, Tracy Boyce, Phil Dickens, Ian Hough, Sarah Malone, Phil Millar, Gerry Noble, Alan Runswick
Nominated by: Branch Executive Committee
Deputy Group Secretary
Assistant Group Secretaries
Gordon Rowntree, Barney Lawn
GEC ordinary members
Martin Page, Carol Gerrard, Laura Bee, Kevin McHugh
Nominated by: John Smith
National Executive Committee
President John Moloney (DfT)
Vice Presidents Ian Hough (R&C), Bev Laidlaw (DWP), Simon Gardner (DWP)
NEC Bev Laidlaw (DWP), Tom Bishell (DWP), Phil Dickens (R&C), Simon Gardner (DWP), Chris Marks (DWP), Charlie McDonald (DWP), Chris Hickey (CLG), Gilane Young (DfT), John Moloney (DfT), Gerry Noble (R&C), Ian Hough (R&C), Bryan Carlsen (HSE), Sarah Malone (R&C), Karen Johnson (CLG), Paulette Romain (CLG), Matt Wells (Defra)
Motions to the AGM
Bootle Taxes Branch stands in outright opposition to the decision, announced by HMRC in November 2015, to close all 170 of its offices in favour of 13 regional centres and 4 specialist sites.
The move, planned for 2019-20, will:
- Lead to the loss of 1 in 4 jobs in the North West (by HMRC’s own figures);
- Put the jobs of PCS members who work as cleaners and security guards at risk;
- See a disproportionate impact in terms of increased travel, costs and potential job losses on disabled staff and staff with caring responsibilities;
- Devastate the local economy of Bootle, which will lose 3,000 jobs, risking potential knock-on job losses to local businesses;
- Make key HMRC functions far easier to privatise or scrap altogether;
- Increase even further the workloads and demands upon HMRC staff who retain jobs.
The Branch therefore endorses both the local Battle for Bootle campaign against the closures in our area and the HMRC-wide Keep Jobs Local campaign against the closures as a whole.
This Annual General Meeting instructs the Branch Executive Committee:
- To ensure that Bootle Taxes is actively represented within the Battle For Bootle Campaign;
- To run a survey of all members in order to determine the impact the closures will have on different demographic and equality groups;
- To consult the branch membership on what forms of action they would be willing to take in order to resist the closures, including but not limited to strike action and industrial action short of a strike;
- To prepare a submission to the National Disputes Committee for a local ballot on any industrial action members are willing to take.
Moved by: Branch Executive Committee
Bootle Taxes Branch resolves to oppose any move to affiliate the union to any political party.
Moved by: Branch Executive Committee
Motions to HMRC Group Conference
This R&C Group Conference notes with grave concern that a mechanistic application of the Managing Poor Attendance guidance now appears to be the norm in much of the department.
HMRC’s own guidance states that staff “should attend work unless not well enough to do so” and that attendance will be managed “based on the individual circumstances” with a “focus on what individuals can do rather than what they cannot.” Yet this is contradicted by an application of policy whereby the number of days, in and of itself, is viewed as a cause for concern regardless of the nature of the illness.
Such an approach is underlined by the fact that the template for the first written warning includes the phrase “Attendance can be classed as unsatisfactory even though there are genuine reasons for the sickness absence” and guides managers to issue the warning based not on patterns or individual circumstances but purely as a result of the number of days off involved.
This mechanistic approach to short term absence also plays into discriminatory practices regarding long-term absences, which make the dismissal of disabled staff in particular almost inevitable.
Conference believes that taking time off work when too ill to attend is a basic right of all workers, and that genuine absences should not come with a disciplinary penalty.
Conference therefore instructs the Group Executive Committee to negotiate changes to HMRC’s attendance management so that:
- There is a route to challenge discussions of concerns where there are no legitimate grounds for concern;
- The consideration points for attendance management are revoked;
- There is no penalty for short-term sick absence as a result of genuine illness;
- There is a right to appeal at all stages of the process, not just at stage 3.
The GEC is also instructed to:
- Produce materials for members highlighting the issue of attendance management and the importance of seeking union representation as early as possible;
- Seek case studies to demonstrate and highlight the improved wellbeing impact of less mechanistic and draconian approaches to sickness management;
- Provide campaign materials aimed at encouraging members to file grievances against formal action at all stages and encouraging manager members to file grievances where they feel pressured from above to put staff on formal action, among any other activities the GEC feels are worthwhile;
- Establish a working group to work with branches and escalate issues where problems with attendance management are being exacerbated by local management practices.
Work on this issue should begin within a month of the close of Conference.
Moved by: Branch Executive Committee
This R&C Group Conference reiterates the national PCS policy of opposition to the 1% pay cap imposed on civil servants by the government.
However, while that cap is in place Conference instructs the Group Executive Committee to approach annual pay talks with HMRC with the view that no worker in HMRC should earn less than the Living Wage as defined by the Living Wage Foundation, and that the bulk of the overall 1% increase in the departmental pay budget should go towards those workers on the lowest pay bands.
Additionally, recognising that even the low level protest actions undertaken by DWP group stand in stark contrast to the entire lack of activity of any kind in HMRC over pay last year, Conference instructs the GEC to develop and promote Group-specific campaigning activities around pay that all members can take part in.
Moved by: Branch Executive Committee
Motions to National Conference
This Annual Delegate Conference condemns the announcement by the Chancellor that public sector pay restraint is set to continue until at least 2020.
Conference notes that not only has civil service pay stagnated, but there is considerable disparity across the Civil Service so that civil servants on the same grade can be on wildly different rates of pay.
Conference agrees that all civil servants deserve a pay rise and that all civil servants on the same grade deserve the same rate of pay.
Conference therefore instructs the National Executive Committee to adopt the following demands on pay:
- That no civil servant earns an hourly rate below the Living Wage
- That, at each grade, the highest departmental rate available should be adopted as the baseline for that grade across the whole civil service
- A pay rise of 10% above this baseline
- That pay should be subject to national negotiations at Cabinet Office level rather than negotiations within individual departments
The NEC is instructed to incorporate these demands into pay campaigning within two months of Conference.
Moved by: Branch Executive Committee
This Annual Delegate Conference notes that this year’s financial guidance to branches includes the following:
- Branch newsletters – these should be produced electronically and emailed to members home email addresses from a non-work email address, branches are no longer funded to print newsletters.
Conference notes that there are many members who are not computer literate, who may have limited access to email or who indeed may not have an email address.
Conference further notes the value of printed newsletters in organising and recruitment, as they get members talking in the workplace, give them direct contact with reps who distribute them and offer a visible reminder of the union within the office.
Conference therefore instructs the National Executive Committee to revise the financial guidance as soon as possible to allow branches to print and distribute their own newsletters to members.
Moved by: Phil Dickens
This Annual Delegate Conference notes that members join a trade union for many reasons, but clearly a prominent reason is protection.
It is with dismay then that this Conference notes that many requests that have gone through to PCS Legal for a decision on whether to support a case to Employment Tribunal have received a negative response. This is concerning for 2 main reasons
- Many, if not most, PCS branches will have a number of experienced reps who conduct their own triage of cases which have the potential for progressing on to Tribunal. Reps are highly unlikely to put forward frivolous cases which have little or no prospect of success.
- Once a negative decision is received back at the branch, it is then up to the volunteer lay reps to deliver that response to the member at a time when they need their union the most. They may have been a member for many years and in so doing have paid substantial subscriptions only to be told that when the need is greatest, the union will abandon them.
Conference accepts the difficult financial position that the union is in. However, it would appear that we have got our priorities all wrong if we are willing to let members down in this way.
Conference therefore instructs the NEC:
- To publish statistics on all cases sent for legal advice over the last 2 years, along with the number/percentage which we have gone to support and represent at Tribunal. This should be done by the end of September 2016.
- To produce a report from these findings on the main reasons why support has been refused and what (if any) measures can be taken to increase the number of cases which receive support. This should be done by the end of 2016.
- To produce and publish guidance for branches on how to challenge decisions by PCS Legal which they consider to be incorrect or erroneous. This should be sent to all branches electronically and easy to find in a prominent place on the union’s website by the end of September 2016.
- To fully consult with branches on their frustrations with, and the perceived failings of, PCS Legal as things stand and to bring recommendations for any changes back to Conference in 2017.
Moved by: Phil Dickens
Emergency motions to Group Conference
This conference holds the department’s plans under the ill-titled “Building Our Future” programme are a huge risk to our members, taxpayers and the exchequer – potentially irrevocably damaging our ability to ensure the taxation system in the UK functions effectively.
Conference believe that this should be opposed.
Conference instructs the GEC at it first meeting immediately after conference to take the necessary actions to ensure a submission is made to the NDC that members are balloted on industrial action.
Industrial action short of a strike should take the form of an overtime ban and strategy other action short of strike action.
The ban and action short of a strike shall remain in place until such a time members vote to suspend or cancel it.
The GEC are also instructed to consult members over action on a branch, regional and/or directorate basis alongside Group-wide action.
Moved by: John Virtue
Conference notes the moves in PT towards a New Operating Model with Customer Service Centres being the chosen office structure.
Conference recognises this provides an opportunity to change the job for our members in PT for the better; whilst recognising the threat that HMRC will no doubt try to change things for the worse.
With this in mind conference resolves that the GEC and the PT Ops BTUS committee shall seek to ensure –
No member suffers a detrimental change to their current flexible working arrangements. They should also aim for all member to enjoy the benefits of traditional FWH.
That leave percentages for peak periods are adequate to cover demand (at least 25% during school holidays).
That job roles within the CSC are designed to cater for the varying skill ranges of our members in PT ensuring options are available for members to undertake preferred types of work. To seek a grading review of the full AO role.
To seek an abandonment of both productivity based “KPI”, utilisation and CHT as individual performance measures.
To ensure negotiations with the recognised trade unions are recognised as the principle method of consulting with staff.
Moved by: John Virtue
Conference is concerned at the drastic changes planned within the Personal Tax directorate, and the potential impact on tax payer records.
Conference is concerned with the chronic short term approach to planning; the bias in planning priorities towards whatever the PAC has complained about last; the lack of attention to work list often denying taxpayer money owed to them, whilst preventing us from acting on information they or their employer have provided.
Furthermore conference is alarmed at the “robotics” project; the impact of Personal tax Accounts on tax payer compliance; and other uses of “technology” to do the job cheaper, but with no evidence that it will be done to existing standards.
To this end the GEC are instructed to campaign to –
Ensure that PT provide a plan that clearly demonstrates how all work will be undertaken.
Ensure work lists are given equal priority to calls and post.
Campaign for taxpayers to be guaranteed repayments of monies owed to them within 1 month of the department becoming aware of the fact.
Ensure full disclosure of all reports / plans / reviews of projects and pilots related to robotics and bulk clearance of WMI.
Ensure that the PTA compliments the service we offer the taxpayer, rather than forcing the taxpayer to undertake our work for us.
Ensure that compliance undertake regular reviews of all employers with regard to the pay-rolling of employment benefits, and PTA to ensure this is not abused.
Moved by: John Virtue