Tag Archives: Staffing Levels

FLEXIBLE RESOURCING – FURTHER ADVICE TO MEMBERS

MB/21/14 advised members that PCS had called action over the employers’ flexible resourcing programme.

Members have told us in no certain terms that they do not support the employers’ latest attempt to mask the impact of their careless and arbitrary cuts by pulling thousands of staff away from their normal duties, such as tackling non-compliance, to answer calls in Contact Centres and “pop-up” centres around the UK.

PCS Conference voted unanimously to reject this approach. Members have also voted yes for action and to oppose cuts in HMRC and to demand enough staff to do the work properly.

We have therefore asked all members to take action on Flexible Resourcing to expose the staffing crisis in HMRC. As a first step members were asked to submit a letter refusing to volunteer for the flexible resourcing project or withdrawing their agreement to volunteer where they had previously done so.

Since MB/21/14 was issued we have been contacted by members who have reported:

  1. That they have submitted a letter and have now been contacted in writing by their Line Manager
  2. That they have not submitted a letter but have been volunteered by their Line Manager without their consent.

Our advice to members on the next steps to take is as follows:

  1. If a member has not submitted one of the template letters attached to MB/21/14 they must do so as soon as possible.
  2. Where a member has submitted a letter and has received a written response from their Line Manager the letter attached (At Annex A) to this Briefing should be sent to the Line Manager in reply by the deadline date given in the employers’ letter.
  3. We advise members at every grade – including Line Managers – to submit their appropriate letters. We want these issues escalated through the line management chain.
  4. Members are not required to move onto Flexible Resourcing until their concerns have been discussed and the necessary HMRC policy complied with. The letter attached to this briefing is directly linked to the employers own policies and they are obliged to comply with every request set out in the letter.
  5. HMRC cannot move people in a mandatory fashion if it breaches their own policies on health and safety, performance management, training or terms and conditions.
  6. It is important that members are encouraged to tailor the letter as much as possible to their own individual circumstances. Branches are asked to assist members with this task.

PCS calls upon all members to support our campaign of activity around Flexible Resourcing. This action has been called as part of our Jobs & Staffing campaign. It is important to note however that we are not at this stage asking members to boycott the programme and we are explicitly NOT asking members to take any action that could lead to disciplinary action.

We understand that members feel under pressure to demonstrate ‘positive behaviours’ and consequently to volunteer to take on this new work. However we also know that members are angry about being taken away for their own important work and asked to help the employer mask acute staffing shortages that it has made worse this week following the announcement by Lin Homer on Wednesday of yet more job cuts.

We do not believe that HMRC can compel members to move to a new location, or to undertake new work at short notice which they have not been adequately trained or equipped to do and members should resist this.

 Fundamentally however our strength comes not from our contracts of employment, but from standing together and taking action together. When we do this, we can push HMRC back and we can win concessions.

Following the successful week of rolling action across HMRC last week we now need to ensure that we maintain the pressure on the employer and that we continue to highlight the need for investment in more staff in HMRC and an end to job cuts, site closures and an end to the attacks on our terms and conditions of service.

Please support the Jobs and Staffing Campaign – do not help HMRC mask the disastrous impact of its job cuts and inadequate staffing levels

In solidarity

 Lorna Merry                                                                         Paul Barnsley
Group President                                                                 National Officer

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WEEK OF ROLLING STRIKES ACROSS HMRC NEXT WEEK – ALL OUT!!

SEND A MESSAGE TO HOMER – HMRC MUST IMPROVE

Lin Homer intranet message – PCS reply

Members may have seen the intranet message from the Chief Executive, Lin Homer, sent on the 16th June. In the message she states that she wants to correct ‘factual inaccuracies’ in PCS communications on jobs and staffing issues.

PCS is issuing this briefing to members to set out the facts fully and we invite you to make your own mind up about the need for us to take action next week.

Claim – Lin Homer says “Despite what PCS says, we are talking to them all the time about what is happening”

Reality – HMRC has announced that it is imposing a derisory pay award of 1%. There has been no negotiation with PCS on pay. HMRC is attempting to impose changes to banked and anticipated leave arrangements. There was no negotiation with PCS in advance of this announcement. HMRC announced plans to close 14 sites across HMRC and fully withdraw lines of business in 9 other areas. There was no negotiation with PCS in advance of this decision. HMRC is attempting to forcibly move staff around the department to cover staffing shortfalls. There has been no negotiation or agreement over flexible resourcing.

Claim – “William Hague and I last met with PCS on 9th May”

Reality – This is true. Lin Homer meets PCS for 1 hour every 6 months. Members may wish to consider if this represents “talking to PCS all the time”. Lin Homer consistently refused to meet with us to discuss our concerns around jobs and staffing and private conversations with her officials in the Employee Relations team have revealed that neither Lin Homer or William Hague are remotely interested in negotiations with PCS to address the concerns of their staff about their plans to cut a further 22,000 jobs between now and 2016.

Claim – “PCS talks about the need for ExCom to press for greater investment”

Reality – This is absolutely true. In response the employer has repeatedly refused to work with PCS to make the case for additional resources, better terms and conditions for staff or to highlight the proven ‘spend and save’ benefit of employing more staff across Lines of Business. Instead ExCom unthinkingly draw up plans to slash more jobs and close more sites. Far from ‘Building our Future’ their strategy risks ‘Destroying our Department’

Claim “In terms of flexible resourcing, we think it is right that we move people to where customer demand is”

Reality – HMRC’s own planning reveals a massive shortfall in staffing resources outside of peak periods. Despite this HMRC are planning to make 2,200 staff in contact centres compulsorily redundant in November and have put forward not one idea about how they will manage the growing crisis due to lack of staff bar forcibly moving staff around HMRC to try to cover up the mess they are making

Finally members will note that Lin Homer has absolutely nothing to say about the imposed performance management system – despite this being a central issue at dispute and despite 23,000 staff participating in the employer’s own pulse survey and rejecting the completely discredited PMR system.

PCS members are urged to support the rolling programme of strike action next week. The PCS Jobs & Staffing campaign is your chance to tell HMRC management that they ‘Must Improve’. We know members are angry and frustrated about:

The discredited performance management system and the way you are managed as a result

  • Another pay award below inflation (non consolidated again for staff at pay band maxima)
  • The constant denigration of staff in the department and our hard won terms and conditions
  • The prospect of 22,000 more job cuts, mass site closure and no clue from the employer about how they are going to do this or pay for it
  • The refusal of senior leaders to make the case for investment and more staff
  • The future of HMRC and the role it can play in communities and in public service delivery

We need to now take action together to persuade the employer to think again. Members are asked to take one day of strike action on the following days:

Monday 23 June: Scotland and northern England
Tuesday 24 June: Yorkshire and Humberside, and eastern England
Wednesday 25 June: London and the south east, and south west England
Thursday 26 June: Midlands and Northern Ireland
Friday 27 June: North west England and Wales

We urge you to support your union and support the action next week.

In solidarity

Lorna Merry  – Group President
Paul Barnsley – National Officer
R&C/MB/23/14  

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HMRC Must Improve: Jobs & Staffing Campaign

The Jobs & Staffing Campaign continues. Please read the update and attachments on the national PCS website

Members Briefing R&C/MB/09/14:

JOBS AND STAFFING CAMPAIGN BALLOT

STARTS MONDAY 28 APRIL

In January, PCS wrote to Lin Homer seeking centrally convened talks to reach an agreement on jobs and staffing that would address your concerns about a number of detrimental impositions and announcements that threaten thousands of jobs across HMRC. The reply from the Chief Executive made clear that she was unwilling to arrange a meeting to discuss your concerns.

Last month we wrote again to the Chief Executive, laying out more starkly your demands and highlighting a number of recent announcements, made without prior consultation or negotiation with PCS, which threaten thousands of jobs in HMRC. These include but are not limited to: the imposition of the discredited Performance Management system, the closure of all 281 enquiry centres, 3 voluntary exit schemes, the start of a consultation exercise to close 12 offices, privatisation of work in Benefits and Credits and Debt Management and Banking and a refusal to offer permanent jobs to over 3,000 members currently employed on fixed term contracts.

Since this second letter was sent we have been made aware of a decision to privatise post handling work, along with the announcement of the latest HMRC Business Plan which details further cuts and yesterday’s unilateral decision to scrap banked leave and vary leave anticipation and carry over arrangements, none of which have been subject to any consultation with PCS.

The Group Executive Committee (GEC) met yesterday to receive a report on progress towards achieving a Jobs and Staffing agreement with HMRC. Despite repeated attempts to secure meaningful negotiations, HMRC continue to refuse to meet with PCS. The GEC unanimously agreed that it is now clear that your demands cannot be achieved through negotiation alone and that there should be a ballot of all PCS members in HMRC.

The ballot asks all members to vote to take strike action and action short of strike in pursuit of our demands, which are:

  • An agreement on staffing to ensure that there are enough staff to do the work.
  • Permanent jobs for all members on fixed term contracts.
  • An end to all current privatisation exercises and a commitment not to outsource any HMRC work in future.
  • A guarantee of no compulsory redundancies and no compulsory moves beyond reasonable daily travel.
  • An end to office closures, and for HMRC to retain a visible face to face presence in our communities.
  • An agreement on workload – reducing stress, over-stretch and demands on workers.
  • An immediate scrapping of the discredited performance management system.
  • A reduction in line managers’ spans of command, to reduce pressure and to allow managers to focus more on staff support and development.
  • A fully funded HMRC tackling avoidance and evasion – but also putting public service delivery at the heart of everything it does.

The ballot will commence on Monday 28 April and will close on Friday 16 May 2014.

We are asking all members to reject HMRC’s vision of smaller, more flexible workforce concentrated in large urban centres. This will mean the closure of offices, forcing members to leave through aggressive performance management system, the offering of voluntary exit packages and an end to a public facing department through the forced migration of taxpayers onto online filing and correspondence.

We are asking all members to vote in favour of PCS’s alternative vision for HMRC which requires: adequate staffing levels to close the Tax Gap and to provide a quality service to the taxpaying public, a visible face to face presence in all local communities, fundamental changes to the management of people such as the abolition of oppressive performance management policies and the development of rewarding jobs which are manageable and achievable.

Previous campaigns in the Revenue and Customs Group have seen off privatisation in our Contact Centres, protected over 3,000 FTAs from compulsory redundancy, saved workplace nurseries from closure and secured additional funding which has saved thousands of jobs across HMRC.

We hope that Chief Executive, Lin Homer, and Chief People Officer, William Hague, will agree to talk to us and reach an agreement that will protect our jobs and allow us to carry our core work of providing a service to taxpayers and reducing the Tax Gap. However, if they don’t we need to take action to make the employer listen to us.

Branch representatives will be distributing campaign materials over the coming weeks, to explain more about our Jobs and Staffing campaign and how you can contribute to its success. If you want to get involved, speak to a local rep, or visit the R&C Group Campaign Pages

Together we are strong and together we can win. Vote Yes/Yes when your ballot paper arrives.

Paul Barnsley (National Officer)
On behalf of the Group Executive Committee
(16 April 2014)

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