Break the pay cap, was the message from PCS members at dozens of HMRC workplaces across the UK who joined in with our payday protests against the imposition of a maximum 1% annual pay cap.
Members went out in number with placards and flags during their lunch breaks today to send a powerful message to HMRC chief executive Jon Thompson and the government that they desperately need a pay rise.
It was a day of sunshine, showers and dark leaden skies across the UK but that did not deter our members determined to show their disgust at their employer’s decision to impose the cap for another 12 months.
From Cumbernauld to Bristol, Newcastle to Brighton, Belfast to Bristol and Bootle to Worthing, thousands of members turned out with a message to support the PCS pay campaign and call for the department and government to break the ongoing 1% pay cap in the public sector. The call for a pay rise was taken right outside Revenue and Customs headquarters in Parliament Street, London, where there was a lively protest.
In Manchester, a crowd of pay protesters heard PCS Revenue and Customs group secretary Martin Kelsey say there is pay inequality across the department.
"On the day that Civil Service World reported a 34% increase in the senior civil service bonus pot, we face a 1% increase because those same senior managers won't call for additional funding from the Treasury,” he said.
"This is just the next stage of PCS activity, which will be replicated in other departments as the imposed pay offers are rolled out; activity that will be brought together union-wide in the autumn. And we are working with sister unions to try to take this across the public sector."
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 the pay cap in place until 2020. Our members were keen to call for an end to the pay cap, office closures, job cuts, working until 68 and pay lagging behind inflation year after year.
PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka said of the protests: “Members are angry at another year of a pay cut in real terms. With inflation well above the government pay cap this puts more of our members in poverty. The government should be rewarding hard-working staff not making them suffer. This is the first in a series of protests from PCS members and we will be working with other TUC unions to challenge the government’s public sector pay cap in the autumn.”
Thank you all for making today’s protests a success and let’s continue to put pressure on the department and the government with more protests involving members from other departments planned for the next pay day on 31 August. We will publicise our plans shortly.
What you can do to help
- Send and share a digital letter to HMRC chief executive Jon Thompson to put pressure on him to lift the cap
- Send us your experience of the pay cap and tell us what lifting it would mean to you, email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Download, sign and circulate our ‘hard copy’ pay petition
- See photos from today on our Flickr account