Tag Archives: HR

HMRC MESSAGE REGARDING PCS COMMUNICATION WITH MEMBERS – URGENT ACTION NEEDED

The employer contacted PCS on late afternoon on Tuesday to inform us they are withdrawing permission for PCS to use HMRC systems to cascade information with our members without prior approval from HMRC’s Employee Relations Team. We immediately responded by restating our legitimate concerns, seeking talks to clarify the issues and requesting that they reconsider. Unfortunately HMRC went ahead and communicated their decision widely without further discussion and we have been inundated with queries about what has happened and what this means.

The Department has stated that this ban is due to us asking members to await further advice from PCS on the issue of Industrial Action reporting. PCS issued a Branch Briefing (151/14) regarding an announcement that the employer had issued to staff on recording absence directly into Online HR. Members and Branches have contacted Group Office to ask what advice the union can provide on this announcement.

Subsequent exchanges with the employer have clarified their position. HMRC has stated that the content of some briefings has strayed in to areas that are prohibited under the terms of existing agreements principally the Employee Relations Agreement that states:

Industrial action and non-HMRC activities

Facilities provided for employee relations work in HMRC must not be used for the planning or conduct of any industrial action or for union activities outside HMRC unrelated to their specific role within the union.

What they are proposing is a system where the Employee Relations Team has sight of proposed Group mailings in future to ensure that the content is in line with the terms of the facilities agreement. They have assured us that they are not seeking editorial control.

No restrictions have been placed on reps ability to communicate with each other or individual members. This restriction applies to the publication of materials ‘cascaded’ to members such as Branch & Members Briefings and both Branches and the GEC will require clearance from the Employee Relations Team to issue such materials using HMRC systems until further notice. Materials should be sent to malcolm.nightingale@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk

We are in the process of setting up a meeting with the employer to discuss issues around PCS communications and recording absence for Industrial Action. As the employer has clarified that the deadline for inputting absences from the recent action is 23rd July, we would hope that these discussions will enable us to provide advice to members who have raised concerns in good time to meet this deadline. However, it is clear that there are communications that we will want to issue that will not be acceptable to HMRC.

This means that we will need to urgently establish a way of issuing material without using HMRC systems if we are going to be able to communicate openly and honestly with members where we are engaged in campaigning activity.

  1. All Branches should provide us with a private email address/multiple addresses where we can send further PCS communications to. Every Branch is asked to do this as a matter of urgency. Please email Jim Knotts (jimk@pcs.org.uk) or call 0151 298 3911 with your details.
  2. Every member is asked to give us a private email address so that we can communicate with you directly. Please visit the website and click on member login. You will be asked to input your membership number and also give us your email details.
  3. Every member is asked to check our website www.pcs.org.uk (click on PCS where I work and then HMRC) on a regular basis.
  4. If you are on Facebook join our Group (PCS R&C Group) or follow our twitter page (@pcsrcgroup).

Please help us to keep in touch with you today and make sure the employer knows that the only way to end this dispute is through negotiation.

Please contact r&ccampaigns@pcs.org.uk if you have any further queries.

In solidarity

Lorna Merry                                                                         Paul Barnsley
Group President                                                               National Officer

Note: We are also collecting email address and mobile numbers locally so that we can ensure we are able to communicate with you promptly about local issues. Please email us at campaigns@pcssewrc.org.uk  with your name, department,  mobile number and, if different, the email address you would prefer us to use to let you know of any updates.

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INDUSTRIAL ACTION RECORDING – ADVICE TO MEMBERS

 The employer issued guidance to staff on the 18th June on recording absence directly into Online HR. The guidance was subsequently revised on the 24th June. Members and Branches have contacted Group Office to ask what advice the union can provide on this announcement.

PCS has not been consulted by the employer about this change to policy which will enable the employer to deduct pay from members taking strike action. We have written to the employer today seeking urgent discussions around this change to long standing policy.

Until these discussions have taken place and further clarification for these changes is made available to PCS members our advice is not to use the Online HR system to record that you were on strike. Further guidance will be issued to members once we have discussed this policy change with the employer.

We believe that this change has been introduced to mask severe staffing shortages in HMRC Service Centres. Put simply, there are not enough staff to record absence due to strike action following returns from line managers. We note that the proposed new policy does not reduce the burden on line managers. Managers in attendance are still required to prepare a list of those that they believe are on strike. Line managers will also be required to ‘authorise the absence’ via Online HR.

PCS members rightly believe that the responsibility for pay deductions and recording industrial action lies with the employer and not members.

Further guidance to members will be issued after our meeting with the employer. For further guidance or support please contact your local Branch or email r&ccampaigns@pcs.org.uk

Lorna Merry                                                                         Paul Barnsley
Group President                                                                 National Officer

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SAVE OUR SHARED SERVICES

Take action to support shared services workers sign the e-petition today

PCS members working in Shared Services centres provide essential services required by government departments, such as, finance, payroll, personnel, IT or HR and a range of other important functions.

The coalition government has already privatised Shared Services jobs in the Department for Transport (DfT), Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) and Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and privatisation plans exist for the Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) to follow in 2015.

We are now beginning to hear of privatisation threats to members working in the Ministry of Defence, Home Office and Ministry of Justice Shared Services. Our primary concern is that members working in HMRC Shared Services across the HR, Finance and Commercial Directorates will also come under threat if this situation is allowed to continue unchallenged.

DWP and Defra staff outsourced in November 2013 to a company called SSCL, owned by French multinational Steria are now fighting redundancy threats as a result of the company announcing 50% job cuts. Some 500 posts are at risk including plans to offshore 200 jobs to India. So much for David Cameron’s assurances about creating jobs in the UK to boost the economy and the ‘re-shoring’ of work previously off-shored.

In reality, this government has forced departments to privatise and have endorsed work, which they describe as ‘low value’ being sent overseas.

PCS is mounting a major national campaign to seek to overturn moves to privatise and offshore work.

As part of this campaign PCS has this week organised a well supported parliamentary briefing for MPs and ministers.

Please support colleagues and the campaign by signing an e-action at: www.pcs.org.uk/saveoursharedservice and circulating the attached leaflet.

Click here to view the leaflet.

Clive BryantAssistant Group Secretary
Sharon LeslieGroup Secretary

R&C/BB/90/14

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