HMRC impose 2018 pay award

HMRC are imposing their 2018 pay offer for all staff from AA to Grade 6.  The offer will be implemented in August salary and backdated to June; which is the due date for pay awards.

It will be clear to members that this award comes nowhere near meeting PCS’ reasonable claim of 5% and does nothing to address members’ aspirations for fair pay.  The government has refused to provide any further funds for pay and stipulated that the pay bill must not increase by any more than 1.5%.  PCS has demanded that HMRC should return to the Treasury with a view to securing more funds for pay.

PCS members will be bitterly disappointed that once again their employer has failed to deliver a decent pay rise and as we await the employer’s response to our demand members are encouraged to make their views known through all available forums.

Pay cut
The government restrictions mean that the majority of staff will only see a pay increase of between 1% and 1.2%, which in real terms, amounts to yet another pay cut. This follows a decade of government pay restraint which has seen our pay fall on average by 17% against inflation.
Endemic low pay
Outrageously, the offer means that the very lowest paid members in the department will receive the lowest increases – both in percentage and cash terms.

Low pay is so pervasive in HMRC, that the department has yet again had to admit that the lowest paid staff will need to receive a further pay rise next April, just to prevent HMRC being in breach of national minimum wage legislation.

So let’s be clear: in the department responsible for enforcing the minimum wage, the minimum pay is so low that they have to increase the minimum during the year, just so they aren’t breaking the same law it’s their job to enforce.

In his budget speech in the summer of 2015, the then Chancellor of the Exchequer said: “I am today introducing a new National Living Wage. We’ve set it to reach £9 an hour by 2020. The new National Living Wage will be compulsory.”

PCS asked the department how they plan to meet the government’s commitment to a minimum wage of £9 per hour by 2020. It was clear from their response that they have no idea, and the derisory award to the lowest paid in HMRC takes the department further away from meeting that target, not closer.

Impact of backdated pay
PCS have also raised concerns around the effect that the backdated salary will have on members who need to claim tax credits or universal credit, along with people with student loans or who are participating in some salary sacrifice schemes.

At this stage HMRC have confirmed that they are unable to stagger the backdated amounts, however HMRC are addressing issues arising from members having to pay higher pension contributions due to the lateness of the settlement.

Pay restrictions inconsistent
It’s not that long ago that the government announced – with no little fanfare - that the 1% pay cap had been scrapped.  In reality what we have seen is that a few chosen areas of the public sector are being offered deals in excess of 1%. The government’s refusal to provide additional funding for pay means that hard-working Civil Servants – who also provide an essential service - are being treated far worse than all other workers in the public sector.

In areas where restrictions have been lifted, such as in Scottish Government, PCS has been able to negotiate fair pay rises for members. This shows that where there is a political will, there is a way to provide a path to fair pay.

Members’ meetings
We understand that members will have many questions and queries about the offer, so PCS have requested that HMRC allow all members paid time to attend a pay meeting in their office to discuss the impact of the imposed award. HMRC have agreed to allow paid time off of 30 minutes plus reasonable travelling time. You will be invited to a meeting in your office to hear a detailed report of the GEC’s negotiations and discuss any concerns and queries you may have.

Further information on PCS’ ongoing fight for fair pay will be published shortly.  In the meantime we thank you for your continued support and would encourage all members to actively participate in the campaign.

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