HMRC workers are taking further industrial action over job cuts and privatisation according to the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union. The latest strikes follow industrial action earlier this year and comes at a time when HMRC are attempting to reduce costs and improve their level of service.
The PCS union, who represent 55,000 members within HMRC, said that the strikes were due to proposals to cut around 10,000 jobs by 2014/15, added to the 30,000 cuts already made at HMRC since 2005. Whilst HMRC state that this is part of their plan to increase their tax revenue, the PCS union argue that the situation will only worsen as a result of these “massive cuts”.
A HMRC spokesman said that were disappointed by the strikes but are trying to work with the PCS to address their concerns and minimise disruption to customers. However, the strikes are unlikely to please many UK taxpayers who have recently expressed frustration at HMRC inefficiency.
Reports suggest that as many as 75-80% of PSC members were taking action, leaving HMRC services crippled and help lines backlogged. A PSC spokesperson said they were pleased with the support shown with the strikes, adding “it’s no surprise the turn-out is so high as morale in the department is rock bottom. Cuts coming down the track will make the situation far worse.”
HMRC have spoken about the £917m spending review boost which they believe will helped them increase tax compliance by £7bn a year by 2014/15. However, a report from the Public Accounts Committee suggest that an additional £1.1bn tax revenue could have been collected over the last 5 years had staff cuts not been made.
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