Project launched to boost HMRC membership

PCS is pouring resources into improving union membership levels in the HMRC group, with a three-month project that will run until December.

The equivalent of two full-time staff will be deployed to work directly with branch activists on organising and recruiting, and will also focus on revitalising branches that have lost some of their activist base in recent years.

Members in the group are urged to engage with the project, which includes specific action on:

  • ‘mapping’ the membership
  • recruiting at inductions
  • one-to-one recruitment
  • increasing workplace activism
  • holding non-members’ meetings
  • using learning and equality events to reach new members and boost activism, and
  • promoting member benefits.

Branch organisers will usually be the first point of contact for PCS officials.

Staff will be working closely with activists to devise a workable branch organising plan, with the ultimate aim of ensuring we have more members than non-members in all branches and workplaces.  

Whilst specific recruitment targets have been set for branches and workplaces – within an overall PCS target set at reaching 200,000 members by 2020  – we are taking urgent remedial action to improve the density level across the HMRC group from the current level of 51%.  

HMRC branches have lost between 5% and 50% of members following the withdrawal of check-off, and in some branches the union density is less than 50%.

However, huge opportunities exist in HMRC to recruit new members, not least because thousands of new apprentices and trainees have started or are due to start by 2020. The union has national agreements which give PCS access to all new starters.

With the consultative ballot on pay running alongside the HMRC project, it’s an issue that will be used to encourage activity and recruitment.  

But staff will also be focusing on identifying other key industrial and bargaining issues that are relevant to branches in the group.

HMRC project staff will meet fortnightly, and all work will be recorded and measured on the union’s electronic reporting system PCSReporter. The system is used for information including membership levels, joiners and leavers, density, activism, training activity, personal communications and equality data.  

PCS national organising officer Pete Lockhart said: “We have huge challenges in HMRC but we also have huge opportunities, with some of the best reps and activists in the union. We want to build on this and assist branches with recruiting new members and encouraging existing members to become the next generation of reps and activists. Every member can play a part.  

“Talk to your colleagues who are not union members. Tell them why you’re a PCS member. Ask them to join.”

• Reps and activists, as well as members, who want to get more involved in the union and with this organising initiative should contact the national organising department at

Updated 10 October 2017

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