Tax workers strike over job fears
Sunday 11 December 2011
Thousands of tax workers will stage strike action tomorrow in
separate disputes over jobs and privatisation of services and a
"punitive" new sickness absence system.
Members of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) at HM Revenue and Customs will walk out for three hours from 12 noon in protest at plans to hand "sensitive data" to private companies, which they fear will lead to job cuts.
The union said around 20,000 of its members will be involved in the industrial action as it steps up opposition to a planned year-long trial using private staff in two contact centres in Bathgate, Scotland and Lillyhall, Cumbria.
PCS officials said the private staff will handle enquiries about tax credits and will have access to sensitive data about people entitled to claim them.
The union said that instead of cutting more jobs at a time of high unemployment, and "wasting" public money on a private sector trial, the department should use existing staff to help out at peak times in the call centres.
In a separate dispute, all the union's members in HMRC's offices across the UK will walk out between 12pm and 2pm on the same day in opposition to a new sickness absence system, which the PCS said threatens staff with disciplinary action instead of supporting them back to work.
The latest action over the new "attendance management" policy follows a series of short walkouts over two days in June, which closed some tax inquiry centres.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "Our members have very serious concerns about this creeping privatisation into HM Revenue and Customs and, as well as the threat to their jobs, they do not think such sensitive data should be handed over to private firms.
"This is also happening at a time when senior managers are trying to bring in an unnecessarily punitive and counter-productive sick policy that seeks to penalise people for being ill, rather than support them."
The union has over 50,000 members at HM Revenue and Customs.
- 1 Labour rallies behind Flint as deputy leader to offset a Corbyn win
- 2 The difference between a psychopath and a sociopath
- 3 It won’t work, Jeremy: The Health Secretary has lost the confidence of the medical profession in his attempt to reform the NHS
- 4 Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state
- 5 'Cool kids' can go on to become losers in later life, study finds
Labour rallies behind Flint as deputy leader to offset a Corbyn win
Kim Jong-un is awarded global statesmanship prize by Indonesia
Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state
RuPaul interview: The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head
Calais crisis: Migrants that have made it to the UK reveal how Britain has matched their expectations
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Calais Migrant Crisis: Deputy Mayor of Calais labels Cameron's use of 'swarm' as 'racist' and 'ignorant'
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
While we fixate on Calais, the Home Office is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
Calais crisis: The seven claims made about the migrants - and the reality
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity for an I...
£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...