PCS continues to work with HMRC to secure jobs for all our FTA members who wish to remain working in HMRC after their contracts are due to end in March. This Branch Briefing provides further information for PCS Representatives and members.
Following the mass offering of approximately 2,300 contract extensions a month ago, we have taken forward further work with HMRC to ensure that all of these posts are filled and that individual aspirations of members are met wherever possible.
Following the initial exercise in January a number of posts remained un-filled. We reflected to HMRC the feedback that we had received from branches and members on these extension offers, which resulted in posts being re-advertised with improved communications and greater clarity around some specific issues. The deadline for applications has now been extended until 9th February.
Avoiding Compulsory Redundancy
To support our ongoing negotiations we have agreed with HMRC that managers should have discussions will all FTA members at risk of redundancy to discuss what they want and how this can best be achieved for them.
To facilitate this HMRC has produced an options/feedback form to gather information about whether FTAs have applied for extension of jobs, and if they haven’t, why they haven’t. We are fully supportive of this approach and urgently need this information to inform the next stage of the consultation exercise which will be focussed on detailed redundancy avoidance measures.
We would therefore encourage all members to complete these forms and return them – particularly where they are unable to apply for one of the jobs/extensions on offer. Members will not be bound in any way by any information they record on these templates but it will help us to work with HMRC to secure the outcome that each member would like – whether this be to leave HMRC at the end of their contract with redundancy pay if eligible or to be redeployed in HMRC or another government department.
We are particularly keen to receive this feedback from locations where no extensions were previously offered. As you will know HMRC had now offered extensions in new locations, particularly where compulsory redundancy remained a very real risk. This has resulted in extensions being offered in 2 new locations – Portsmouth and Edinburgh, which means that FTAs in these locations should now have an alternative to redundancy if they want one. We now need to ensure that staff in similar locations also have their individual aspirations met where possible and the feedback exercise is crucial to achieving this.
Where members are still unable to apply for one of the current extensions, perhaps because extensions are not being offered within Reasonable Daily Travel of their home, or because their working patterns cannot be accommodated then HMRC has committed to working with PCS to explore all possible alternatives to compulsory redundancy. However, if members chose not to apply because they don’t want to take any of the jobs on offer then it is likely that HMRC will deem that these members will have acquiesced to redundancy.
PCS urges every member who wants to remain in HMRC and are able to undertake one of the jobs on offer to apply. We are committed to filling every job.
If members are unable to apply for one of these jobs then they should speak to their line manager and complete the options form and return it. We would be grateful if members would also feedback through their branch reps with the reasons that they are unable to apply. If members wish to leave HMRC in March then they should also complete the options form and make this clear to their line manager and local PCS rep.
We continue with progressive talks with HMRC around compensation for eligible staff who are unable to apply and further information on this will shortly be published and we will discuss this further with your Branch representatives this week.
We have secured agreement that alternative working patterns will be considered and accommodated wherever possible. Personal Tax will actively considering applications from part time FTA workers who have requested fewer hours over fewer days. This should remove the barrier many part time members faced when the extensions were last offered.
We have also raised the position of FTA members currently working on evening teams in PT Ops who need to be able to work until 10pm because of other commitments, such as childcare, caring responsibilities and study commitments. HMRC has agreed to consider any applications from members in these circumstances once we jointly understand how many posts have been filled and whether FTA members remain at risk of compulsory redundancy because they were unable to commit to the working hours offered. Members in these circumstances are therefore encouraged to apply.
PCS and HMRC remain committed to working constructively to avoid compulsory redundancy of FTA members. We would urge members to take the steps outlined above and to continue to feedback any questions or concerns to us, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vicki Searle – Assistant Secretary
Paul Barnsley – National Officer