A strike ballot, which could lead to the first PCS HMRC-specific strike for at least 5 years, starts on Monday (18) involving PCS Revenue and Customs members opposing the closure of their office – International House, Ealing.
HMRC, which has already lost tens of thousands of years of tax experience as a direct result of its office closure plans, is proceeding with its misnamed Building Our Future proposals which will see 90% of HMRC offices closed and replaced by fewer than 20 ‘regional centres and specialist sites’. As part of these proposals the Ealing office could close as early as 2020, putting many of the staff at risk of redundancy.
As if to rub salt in members’ wounds, HMRC has recently been recruiting for a location in Hayes, which is within reasonable daily travel for Ealing staff, but this was not offered as an option for members at International House.
The industrial action ballot, which runs from 18 February to 5 March and also asks members to support an overtime ban, could see the first HMRC-specific strike in 5 years, and take place in the only remaining HMRC office located anywhere near Heathrow Airport.
During the campaign to date, as well as holding a number of well-attended meetings, we have already held demonstrations and organised petitions. We have also secured political support for our campaign from both Ealing council and MPs, including shadow chancellor John McDonnell.
Martin Kelsey, PCS Revenue and Customs Group Secretary, said: “HMRC consistently and spuriously claims that 90% of staff will be within easy reach of a regional centre. The reality is totally different, with PCS members in offices like Ealing facing the stark choice of being forced to travel unreasonable journeys to work or redundancy.”