Taxation logo taxation mission text

Since 1927 the leading authority on tax law, practice and administration

Overtime ban for 70,000 Revenue staff

09 July 2009
Categories: News
Union move in protest at department's cutbacks

One of the country's largest trade unions has instigated an overtime ban for its 70,000 members at HMRC.

The move by the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) is in protest at the Revenue’s continuing programme of cutbacks, as the department ‘spends millions on the use of overtime to mask the true impact of job cuts’.

The PCS – which represents around 300,000 workers in government departments, agencies, public bodies and private companies – is calling on HMRC to employ permanent members of staff rather than relying on routine overtime and temps to cover the loss of full-time employees.

The union claims that 19,000 Revenue workers have left their positions over the past three years. The taxman, however, says that the figure is only 17,000 since the merger of the Inland Revenue and HM Customs. 

‘HMRC’s growing reliance on overtime... is unsustainable and unacceptable,’ remarked PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka. ‘Services to the public are suffering.’

He added: ‘This is a situation which will get worse with less and less staff and not enough hours in the day to get the job done. The department should be hiring staff rather than firing them.

‘It make no sense to be cutting jobs during a recession, especially when there is £25.8 billion of tax going uncollected.’

HMRC said they are ‘disappointed’ by the PCS’s decision to enforce an overtime ban – and they repeated their oft-made claim that no compulsory redundancies have been made.

‘We are committed to ensuring that it will be business as usual during this period, and we will continue to deliver a high standard of customer service,’ said a department spokesperson.

He continued: ‘This is part of a well-publicised strategy to improve HMRC’s efficiency by 5% year on year up to 2011. So far, HMRC has achieved all staff reductions and efficiency targets without compulsory redundancies, and it remains our intention to avoid them wherever reasonably possible.’

This latest situation is as a direct result of the Revenue’s efficiency programme, claimed Anita Monteith, tax manager for the IAECW Tax Faculty: the relocating of offices is compelling employees to give up their jobs with the department.

This has led to the remaining members of staff having to take on extra work, said Ms Monteith, who praised HMRC for extending the opening times of their helplines and call centres (albeit without publicising the fact).

However, she added that this has meant that existing workers have had to cover the extra hours, rather than new employees being taken on.

‘The tax profession is fed up with the Revenue’s platitudes about how its reorganising is for the better,’ said Ms Monteith. ‘That may come true, but in the meantime the situation is dreadful’.

Categories: News
back to top icon