On Thursday 18 May, Bootle Taxes members gathered in the Jollys for the Branch Mandate Meeting. The weather was far more favourable than for the AGM, with no storms raging, and there was a lively and healthy debate as well as some top notch Scouse among the food on offer.
Three emergency motions were moved at the meeting.
The first, in response to the ‘Building an Uncertain Future’ document from the Group Executive Committee, welcomed that paper but also sought to build upon it. In particular, the motion sought to strengthen the commitment to defend all offices and jobs, and push for an industrial action ballot within the coming year. The motion passed without opposition.
The second emergency motion was in response to ‘Dynamic Coding,’ the latest attempt to automate A-grade jobs in Personal Tax, while the third argued for PCS to push for a Labour Party victory in the upcoming snap election. Both motions also passed.
The debates over motions submitted to Conference by other branches saw members speak and vote in support of increased transgender inclusion in the workplace, extending the campaign for ISS cleaners that began in Bootle across HMRC, and providing real support to staff with mental health problems.
Two different motions called for increased flexibility for members of staff on newer contracts, though one appeared to suggest all staff should be put onto contracts with unsocial working – which would be detrimental to those on traditional contracts. Members voted to oppose that motion but to support the broader issue of greater flexibility for all staff.
A motion calling for an overtime ban caused a lot of heated debate. Those arguing that action was needed to stop HMRC taking staff for granted and making cuts won out in the end. But there was also a strong voice in favour of ensuring that members struggling to make ends meet were supported during any such action.
Members voted to support a motion in solidarity with the striking staff at the Equality and Human Rights Commission, and there was a collection for the EHRC strike fund. A controversial motion calling for disaffiliation from Abortion Rights was overwhelmingly opposed.
The meeting also agreed to put forward some of our reps for vacant positions on the Group’s Equality Advisory Committees.
Despite the broad range of subjects covered and the amount of debate, the meeting closed at the scheduled time. The branch thanks all members who came and took part, and will report back on the outcome of the debates that take place at Conference in due course.