Staff at Plymouth tax offices set to go on strike on June 25
TAX office staff are poised to go on strike next week over privatisation and the threat to jobs.
Staff at the Crownhill Court and Derriford HM Revenue and Customs Offices are expected to join a nationwide strike on Monday June 25.
And Public and Commercial Services union bosses are asking staff to observe a strict overtime ban from June 26.
Sarah Allen-Melvin, from the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) in Plymouth, said the membership had voted to strike over job cuts and the threat of privatisation.
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An HMRC spokesman said last night: "We are aware of the strike. Our normal plans would be to keep inquiry centres open and provide the same level of service we have in previous industrial disputes.
"People are reminded that a lot of information can be found online on our website."
Ms Allen-Melvin said the strike was in response to the threat of privatisation of contact centres.
She said HMRC was in the middle of a 12-month trial of two privatised contact centres.
"This could be the thin end of the wedge and we need to stamp it out right now.
"Staff on private contracts earn £3,000 a year less and their terms and conditions are not as good.
"We also have massive concern about data protection after the CSA lost discs of information a few years ago.
"If privatisation takes hold there will be a race to the bottom."
She expected an overtime ban to have an impact on tax office bosses because staff at the Plymouth offices had been offered overtime since April – the earliest yet in the tax year.
Catherine Craig, PCS South West regional secretary, said: "As part of a sustained campaign to defend jobs and services we are calling on all members to take strike action on Monday, June 25.
"From Tuesday, June 26 we are asking all members to strictly observe a ban on overtime working."
She said that in a ballot, members had voted to support strike action and action short of strike, demanding: no further job cuts in HMRC; an end to private sector involvement; and no compulsory redundancies or moves beyond reasonable travel.
"We are now embarking on our biggest ever group-wide campaign," she said. "We are in a period of uncertainty. A further 10,000 jobs are planned to be cut from HMRC.
"Our members are under pressure to deliver more, with increased scrutiny, with less staff and resources. 30,000 jobs have gone already in HMRC. This has resulted in the department losing the ability to collect £1.1billion in tax."