2 February 2022

PCS in HMRC and the national ballot

We are balloting all PCS public sector members from 14 February to 21 March on our national campaign to raise pay, pensions and living standards.

Our national executive committee has decided that it is time to say that rising inflation, April’s National Insurance rise and pensions robbery can no longer be accepted. It cannot be right that our members are struggling so bitterly, given everything that they have done to keep things afloat during the pandemic.

This is not a strike ballot. It will ask members what action they would be prepared to take. A statutory industrial action ballot might follow later.

While the multi-year pay deal in HMRC still has another year to run, and the 5% pay award due in the summer is considerably higher than awards we have seen elsewhere across Whitehall, the current runaway levels of inflation show that in December 2021, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased to 5.1%. This has effectively eroded even that improved award. Additionally, we have no guarantees on pay rises beyond the current deal, so it is important that we continue to campaign for fair pay and to end the pensions robbery.

Our members have been forced to overpay into their civil service pensions over the past couple of years and have ‘lost’ an average £1,000.

So far more than 26,000 PCS members have worked out how much they have lost by using our PCS pensions loss calculator. The average loss per month is around £53.

At a time when the cost of living is rising sharply, with the energy price cap predicted to rise by 51%, National Insurance contributions increasing and the potential of interest rate rises affecting mortgage payments, PCS members cannot afford to continue to make these pension overpayments.

If the government is not prepared to act, then we must look at what action PCS members across the civil service are prepared to take. We are therefore running a national ballot for all our public sector members from 14 February to 21 March.

This is not a strike ballot. It will ask members what action they would be prepared to take. A statutory industrial action ballot might follow later.

Our national pay claim calls for:

1) Cost of living rises

For 2022, in addition to progress on coherence of pay scales, we are also seeking a cost of living rise of 10%.

2) London weighting

On top of the national salary points that we are seeking to negotiate, we are seeking a London weighting payment, incorporated into consolidated pay, of at least £5,000 per annum, with no detriment to any worker currently entitled to more than that.

3) A Living Wage

Underpinning all elements of our claim for 2022, we are seeking a living wage of £15 an hour.

4) Annual leave

We are seeking improvements in annual leave provision to at least 35 days per year on entry; with no detriment to any worker currently entitled to more than that.

5) Working week

We believe that the time is right to consider what the future world of work might look like and how workers might benefit from new technology and from more flexible ways of working.

We are therefore seeking a significant reduction in the working week with no loss of pay.

6) Pay coherence

PCS has a long-standing objective of securing a return to national bargaining on pay and terms and conditions covering all workers in the civil service and its related areas.

In preparation for the ballot, we need you to: