PCS members stepped up their strike against the closure of Ealing tax office today (3 April) with a well-supported one-day walkout.
They were joined on a picket line outside their office and were strongly supported by their community, politicians and fellow trade unions.
The workers at International House, the only remaining tax office near Heathrow Airport, could see their office close as early as 2020. This puts many of them at risk of redundancy as part of HMRC’s misnamed Building Our Future proposals which will see 90% of HMRC offices closed and replaced by fewer than 20 ‘regional centres and specialist sites’.
Picket lines were in place from 7:30am as management had already restricted opening hours due to the action.
There was support for the strikers from local trades councils, PCS Assistant General Secretary Chris Baugh, a representative of local Unite Community, as well as the public.
The strikers were also joined by Onkar Sahota, Labour's GLA London assembly member for Ealing and Hillingdon, who is raising the matter with London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
A rally which took place outside the office this morning heard from Chris and from branch chair Lydia Ndoinjeh; as well as several branch executive committee members and from sister union Unite.
The well-supported one-day strike follows two half-day walkouts held last month. Members are also refusing to do non-contractual overtime. More than 84% voted in favour of striking, and 95% backed action short of a strike in a ballot.
If the employer continues to refuse to change its position a three-day strike is planned for next week from 10-12 April. There will be a strike rally at 10am in Ealing on Wednesday (10), which will be addressed by PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka, This will take place in the hall at Ealing Green Church, just along the road from International House.
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Shadow chancellor John McDonnell once again tweeted a message of support for the strikers:
“Solidarity with PCS members taking part in strike action at my local HMRC Ealing. They are fighting to defend jobs and the vital experience, which will be lost should this office close. HMRC must acknowledge the need for local offices now more than ever.”
Labour party chairman Ian Lavery also sent his support: "Solidarity with the hard-working and dedicated PCS union members taking part in strike action at HMRC Ealing today. They are fighting to defend a vital service and asset to the community and HMRC must listen. The Building Our Future programme is failing."
PCS parliamentary group chair Chris Stephens also sent a message of solidarity and support to the strikers taking action against HMRC office closures.