31 July: pay up in HMRC

20 Jul 2017

Our members in HMRC collect the taxes that fund vital services that millions of us rely on but, along with thousands of colleagues across the civil service, have seen their pay frozen or capped for years.

The department is set to impose the annual 1% pay cap on HMRC this coming payday – 31 July – and we want to make an example of the government’s paymasters by getting as many of our HMRC members and supporters to hold a day of protest so show what another year of a pay cap will mean to them.

The PCS Revenue and Customs Group has rejected the imposition of this meagre rise as it does not meet our reasonable demands for the cap to be lifted and for all our members in HMRC and across the civil service to be given a rise of 5% or £1200, whichever is greater. Remember 5% would only begin to rectify years of politically-driven pay restraint.

The government has argued that suppressing members’ pay has helped to safeguard jobs but HMRC is putting at risk thousands of jobs by closing dozens of offices and across the civil service more than 100,000 jobs have been axed.

Payday protests

We are asking HMRC members and supporters to join lunchtime protests outside their workplaces on 31 July. We need as many people as possible to join these protests to send a powerful message to the government to lift the cap. The government is weak and divided, particularly around the issue of public sector pay, so this is a great opportunity to show your support for public protests and finally get the cap lifted. Pay Up in HMRC photo opportunity cards will be sent to HMRC branches and to regional offices. Contact your PCS regional office for details.

We know that the consequence of the year-on-year cap for many members in HMRC and across the civil service is that you are forced to use foodbanks, take out payday loans or use credit cards to pay for necessities.

For many members their monthly payday offers no respite as they know that most of their earnings will quickly disappear on bills and essentials. We are campaigning to change that.

Public sector workers have suffered under the UK-wide 1% public sector cap introduced in 2013, which itself followed a two-year pay freeze. The last Tory government pledged to keep it in place until 2020.

Seven years of pay restraint, including the ongoing cap, have been highly damaging for many public sector workers. Research commissioned by PCS shows that since the pay cap has been in place, the value of average pay in the civil service has fallen by up to 9% against inflation; if the pay cap continues until 2020, as the last Conservative government had originally proposed, average civil service pay will have fallen in value by more than 20%.

End the pain of payday

Civil servants’ pay has fallen way behind levels of inflation by about 17% over the last 10 years and many members are struggling to get by, pay their bills and feed their families.

Since 2007, Retail Price Index inflation has risen by 25.3%, yet median pay in the civil service has risen by only 13.7%. Meanwhile, Office for Budget Responsibility figures suggest that inflation (RPI) will rise by 18% between 2016 and 2021.

Civil service pay increases have also been slashed through the withdrawal of salary progression through grades. Government policy has also impacted on take-home pay by increases to the contributions that people pay into their pension scheme and National Insurance contributions – adding to the huge strain on PCS members and their families.

Various government ministers have said that the issue of public sector pay might be addressed in the autumn budget but the millions of people who are struggling to get by and being forced to go to foodbanks to feed their families need action now so please support our campaign.

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