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From: The Socialist issue 1119, 3 February 2021: Launching a political alternative to cuts, poverty and job losses

Search site for keywords: HMRC - Pay - Cuts - PCS - Union

HMRC: We demand a pay rise without cuts to terms and conditions

PCS members on strike, photo Paul Mattsson

PCS members on strike, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

HMRC worker

On 1 February, a multi-year pay offer was made to union members in HMRC. After years of austerity pay, it may well be welcomed by some members in the PCS union. However, the offer comes with a worsening of terms and conditions including:

After years of pay freezes and caps, it's outrageous to expect us to fund our own pay increases. And given the magnitude of these changes, the offer is actually not very good - 13% over three years (3%, 5% and 5%).

When the PCS national pay campaign was launched in 2018 we had already lost at least 10% of our pay in real terms. Inflation has continued to be 2% a year since then. This offer won't be sufficient to bring HMRC staff back up to their 2010 real-terms level of pay.

Some HMRC staff rely on overtime and unsocial pay. If the offer is accepted, this will no longer be paid for Saturday working. It is highly unlikely that pay increases will replace the losses incurred by these staff.

HMRC's offer isn't being funded by the Treasury. In fact, the money for the offer already exists in HMRC's budget. This means that HMRC could afford to pay the 13% pay rise without any changes to terms and conditions.

HMRC knew that the PCS national pay campaign had stalled and that the government was threatening staff with a pay freeze in 2021. HMRC has negotiated a deal that works for it at the cost of the needs of members.

Yet during the 2019 national pay campaign ballot, over 50% of PCS members in HMRC voted. There is a clear mandate to fight on pay that the negotiators should have used. By agreeing to have the talks in confidence, the negotiators voluntarily tied one arm behind their backs.

Reject the offer

Socialist Party members in PCS are recommending that members reject this HMRC offer. The national pay claim is for a 10% pay rise without detrimental changes to terms and conditions. The group executive committee (GEC) needs to continue to support this claim and put pressure on the national leadership to build a real campaign on pay. The GEC will also need to develop its own group campaign to address the existing issue of a two-tier workforce, but by raising everyone up, not through HMRC's race to the bottom.

We will need a national leadership with a strategy to win on pay. That's why we're asking members to nominate and vote for the Broad Left Network (BLN) slate for the national executive committee.

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Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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