Telford HMRC workers to stage sixth protest over pay restraint
Civil servants working for HMRC in Telford are staging their sixth protest in as many months against what they have described as a decade of pay restraint.
The members of the Public & Commercial Services Union (PCS) claim it has left them around 20 to 25 per cent worse off than in 2010.
Workers will be taking part in a lunch time protest on Wednesday outside their offices in the Plaza, Ironmasters Way, Telford.
It is part of a national protest set to coincide with the Self Assessment (SA) peak on January 31 – the cut off date for taxpayers to submit their annual tax return.
Workers are keen to highlight that their efforts help to bring in record amounts of tax year on year, and that tax is what provides the vital public services such as the NHS and infrastructure that underpins the UK economy.
Last year the total tax brought in by HMRC workers and IT systems was around £660 billion.
Telford is an IT nerve centre for HMRC, and workers in HMRC and their IT partners build and maintain the IT systems that handle SA returns each day, and a predicted 10.8 million returns in total this year, being processed at a rate of 14 per second at its peak.
As well as supporting the IT, other staff in Telford perform other work such as compliance.
Figures from Tax Justice show that an average compliance worker on £30,000 brings in £900,000 in tax.
But members of the HMRC Telford PCS branch said these vital jobs are set to be axed from Telford by 2021 as HMRC abandons smaller towns in favour of a limited number of supersites in cities.
Pat Turner, the HMRC Telford PCS branch secretary, said: "The 600 HMRC staff remaining in Telford are a combined £4 million worse off than in 2010 in real terms. Not only is this grossly unfair on our members, who are working under increased pressure with fewer resources to deliver better results, but it has a massively detrimental impact on the local economy, as we as consumers have less money to spend with local shops and business. ”
She said there has been an increasing sense of frustration for PCS members who are fed up of effectively being told by the Government that the economy is thriving, they are performing well, yet they have to suffer financial hardship and reduced wages every year, without an end in sight to the policy of public sector pay caps.