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Posted on 18 January 2012 at 20:10 GMT

Tax office workers strike

Hugh Caffrey

Hundreds of staff at the huge HMRC tax office off Bridge St in Manchester joined a very well-supported morning walkout on 16 January.

This, despite management's fragmentation and intimidation of the workforce, testifies to workers' anger and the campaign by their union PCS.

Privatisation and job losses go together and PCS is fighting both. The two contractors to whom the Con-Dems intend privatising tax-collection do represent a choice.

One will pay minimum wage and the other will pay 3,000 below current salaries! Little wonder this walkout was bigger than the last, as the pay-slashing agenda emerges.

Apparently one of the contractors faces legal action elsewhere for non-payment of wages!

Staff at the Archer House office in Stockport face the further threat of office closure. Many were redeployed there when offices in nearby towns were closed, on the basis that Manchester was too far to travel to work.

Now hundreds of employees could face that or the dole, as management say the Archer House PFI contract for the building is too expensive and if no alternative office space is found then it's Manchester or unemployment.

But who backed PFI in the first place?! PCS opposed it then and opposes office closure now. An announcement by management will be made on 25 January.

Strikers were also interested in discussing the pensions dispute, and signed up to the National Shop Stewards Network e-bulletin.

The next walkouts by PCS in HMRC are planned for 31 January, with times to be announced.

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