HMRC staff threaten strike action as redundancy notices issued

HMRC staff are considering industrial action over news that the tax department has issued nearly 150 redundancy notices following the tax department's announcement in November last year of  plans to shut down 137 of its 170 offices (affecting 60,000 staff) across the country by 2020-2021, as part of plans to digitise tax administration

The cuts come amidst plans to operate HMRC out of 13 national digital super hubs, in preparation to roll out government's £1.3bn Making Tax Digital project to completely digitise the tax administration and collection process.

According to the PCS, HMRC is refusing to redeploy those at risk to any office listed for closure in the coming years under the plans.

An HMRC spokesperson said: ‘HMRC does everything possible to avoid compulsory redundancies but the reality is we no longer need the mass processing roles of the past as we move to more skilled and specialist roles. 

‘We have been through a lengthy and rigorous process to deploy colleagues to other areas of work within HMRC and this work has been on-going since 2014. We have consulted with Departmental trade unions to make sure that we've considered all possible redeployment opportunities.'

HMRC staff that are affected are understood to be those in predominantly low-paid administrative grades across a range of locations.

The PCS says the job losses come as HMRC is recruiting new staff in the same and similar grades and as the government plans to further cut civil service redundancy pay, despite previously claiming recent changes were "affordable and sustainable.

‘We are considering all our options, including industrial action, and will provide regular updates to members.

‘We called on HMRC chief executive Lin Homer to intervene to avoid what would the first compulsory redundancies in her department, but she has refused,’ the PCS said.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: ‘It is entirely unnecessary and inflammatory to tell these 150 staff there is no future for them in the civil service when staff are being recruited to do similar work.

‘This is not how reasonable employers behave and we will be considering all options, including industrial action.’

 

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