PCS members in Ealing began three days of strike action today, following a well-supported one day strike last week and two half-day strikes last month.
HMRC staff are in dispute over the closure of International House, which could close as early as 2020, putting many members of staff at risk of redundancy.
A picket line was in place from 7.30am from where members later marched to a strike rally held at nearby Ealing Green Church.
Addressing the packed rally, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka assured the strikers of the full support of the union and announced that as well as strike pay, PCS is launching a national fundraising exercise “to make sure that HMRC knows that the Ealing strikers will not be starved back to work”.
He said: “HMRC clearly doesn’t care about its workforce in Ealing. This is a real battle. Real people’s jobs are at stake, and it’s hurting real families. You can rest assured chief executive Jon Thompson isn’t at home, worrying about feeding his family.
“The government could commit to keeping this office open for a hundred years and it would cost them pennies, and yet they are squandering billions of pounds making preparations for a no-deal Brexit that they could have avoided had they only done their jobs properly.”
Bringing a message of support from the national executive committee, acting-president Fran Heathcote also congratulated the strikers on their stand, reminding the meeting that DWP has also launched office closure plans, concluding “it doesn’t matter what group you’re in, we all face the same threats”.
Shadow Treasury Minister Anneliese Dodds slammed HMRC’s plans, calling the department’s closure programme “a smugglers’ charter”. Anneliese also brought the meeting another message of solidarity from Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell.
Also at the meeting was the MP for Ealing Central, Rupa Huq, who brought the strikers her best wishes and continued support; and Tony Lennon, who brought a message of support from the TUC’s London, East and South East region.
Representing the Ealing strikers, PCS branch chair Lydia Ndoinjeh said that the campaign will explore all options after the three days of strike action, including legal, parliamentary and industrial elements. Lydia thanked the meeting for their support, especially the local community groups and activists, reporting that the action is already having an impact, and that new members were joining PCS as a result of the stand the branch is taking.
How you can help
Show your support by sending messages of support for the strikers to RCGroup@pcs.org.uk and email@example.com and by donating online to the PCS Fighting Fund which helps to support striking members.