PCS members at HMRC start action over jobs and threat of privatisation


Tax workers have begun a month of industrial action to highlight the extent of cuts in HM Revenue and Customs, the PCS has announced.

Action short of a strike, including working to rule, will run for five weeks and will be combined with a campaign to highlight to MPs and the public the problems caused by job cuts in the department, and the threat of more privatisation. This will be followed by strike action in early September.

This follows a strike last month among the union’s 55,000 HMRC members in the week Jimmy Carr’s tax arrangements reignited the debate about tax avoidance, with prime minister David Cameron describing it as “morally wrong”.

Despite this the government is pressing ahead with plans to cut 10,000 more jobs from HMRC by 2015, on top of more than 30,000 already cut since 2005.

The union estimates that more than £120 billion a year is lost to our public finances through tax evasion, avoidance and non-collection because of a lack of resources.

The union is also concerned about creeping privatisation, with HMRC spending £4 million on a year-long trial using two private companies to handle tax credit enquiries.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “While millionaires in the cabinet wring their hands about the morality of tax avoidance, they are ploughing ahead with plans to cut thousands more jobs from the department responsible for doing something about it.

“The case for investment in our public services as an alternative to austerity could not be more obvious than it is in HMRC.”

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