HMRC staff to strike from midday today over office closures

HMRC staff take strike action today over office closures at Ealing

Tax workers in the PCS union will take strike action from midday in their battle to prevent office closures.

The Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) which represents the workers at International House at Ealing will take strike action from midday and have planned further sustained action going into April.

The dispute centres round the union’s opposition to the closure of the office due to take place in 2020/21. The closure is part of HMRC’s plans to close ninety percent of all tax offices in a move regarded by many as a clear sign of a lack of seriousness on the part of the Tory government to tackle tax avoidance and evasion.

The union has said the closures will lead to a poorer service and massive job losses as many workers cannot relocate to the new regional hubs that are being created.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said:

The government’s office closure is deeply unpopular with staff. Many will be made redundant as a result and the service that they provide will be severely hampered.

HMRC is struggling to recruit and retain staff. With an unnecessary office closure programme and a huge amount of tax uncollected, evaded or avoided, our members demand that their office stays open.

It is about time Ministers started listening to the experts who are our members and halted this office closure programme immediately.

Over 80% of union members who took part in the ballot voted for strike action. A PCS member working at Ealing, who did not wish to be named said:

We are the last remaining HMRC office located anywhere near Heathrow airport and in this time of uncertainty over the implications of ‘Brexit’, it makes absolutely no sense to close the office – permanently losing countless years of vital tax and customs experience in the process.

The planned strike dates are as follows:

  • a half-day strike today;
  • a further half-day strike on 26 March 2019
  • a one-day strike on 3 April 2019
  • a three-day strike commencing 10 April 2019.

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  1. It is disappointing that the PCS didn’t take a similar principled stance over their members, employed by the DWP, being coerced into bullying and victimising vulnerable DWP claimants.

  2. “a clear sign of a lack of seriousness on the part of the Tory government to tackle tax avoidance and evasion.”

    To be honest, that bit isn’t news. It’s all part and parcel of the impulse behind the Brexit initiative for enhancing plutocrats’ income streams (see JRM etc.)

    1. Other nations are starting to address the Tax inequalities and corruption inerrant in their economies.


      Treaty to ‘dodge Kenyan tax’ deemed unconstitutional
      Kenya’s High Court has struck down a tax agreement with offshore haven Mauritius, a potentially significant precedent for other African nations’ efforts to staunch billions of dollars in lost revenue.
      Justice Weldon Korir sided with Nairobi-based nonprofit Tax Justice Network – Africa, finding that the double tax avoidance agreement was unconstitutional. Kenya’s government had failed to follow constitutional requirements for ratification, Justice Korir said in his March 15 ruling.
      TJNA executive director Alvin Mosioma welcomed the ruling in a statement, saying: “This ruling is groundbreaking not just for Kenya but for other Africa countries.
      “Today’s judgment validates our call for African countries to review all their tax treaties particularly those signed with tax havens.”

    2. As the Tories unravel, they can’t be bothered hiding their corruption any more, they just rub it in our faces.

      This seems to underline the death wish they have, as does May blaming Parliament for the Brexit chaos in PMQs today.

      It’s hilarious!

      1. “As the Tories unravel”

        … I think you’re too optimistic. There’s a difference between looking stupid and ‘unravelling’ in a practical sense. It’s the turkey syndrome again.

        Meanwhile, listening to the friendly, but uncommitted, voters that we need, I see no massive surge of enthusiasm for Labour, despite the antagonism towards the Tories. Reality is hard.

  3. RH, I think looking world-class-stupid might turn out to be enough for them to unravel.
    There’s Brexit… and then they’re going to look cosmically dumber if, as seems likely, another “downturn” comes while the economy’s still got four flat tyres and no money for bus fare.
    On the bright side England won’t be so London-centric once the financial sector’s buggered off to Paris, Frankfurt, Luxembourg, Madrid, Amsterdam or Dublin – and Scotland, Wales and NI have run away with the EU to be kept in the manner to which they’ve become accustomed. ECJ will probably award them alimony too, dammit 🙁
    I understand potatoes can be grown almost anywhere though, so maybe the North West and North East will become the new centres of potato excellence.
    The Empty Quarter formerly known as London might be a useful source of protein – rats and cats should be available for years.

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