A “scab union” has launched a recruitment drive in tax offices just months after leaked documents revealed that revenue chiefs had connived to “encourage” workers away from true union PCS.
R&C Trade Union was registered with the certification officer in January.
It launched a flashy website on Wednesday promising “open and constant dialogue with members and the employer to protect and promote the terms and conditions of the staff to deliver a world-class public tax service.”
In a press release, RCTU secretary Margi Rathbone said: “Ordinary union members are fed up with politically driven protest strikes that gain nothing but the loss of pay — they are showing their disdain for politically-inspired conflict by demanding change.”
But sources said the new organisation only had a handful a supporters so far and long-standing public-sector union PCS said it had experienced “competitors” before.
“Though we are not particularly concerned that this rogue outfit will gain any traction, we do know from experience elsewhere the lengths employers will go to in aiming to marginalise fighting unions,” said PCS group secretary for HM Revenue and Customs Peter Middleman.
“In the Civil Service, we have the so-called Immigration Service Union which emerged in the 1980s and of course every trade unionist knows about the Union of Democratic Mineworkers and their role in setting working-class interests back decades.
“The RCTU are cut from the same cloth and, though little
more than a distraction at this stage, the extent to which HMRC are prepared to encourage them speaks volumes.”
In November HMRC deputy director Jonathan Donovan suggested the option was open to senior civil servants to “encourage HMRC employees away from PCS representation, including but not limited, to other workable alliances.”
At the time, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka called on HMRC chief executive Lin Horner to “publicly disown” the memo, which also talked of plans to “marginalise” PCS and urged the “isolation” of its leadership.
“Discussion and dialogue are the only way the dispute can be resolved, not the politically inspired, anti-union approach that the ExCom paper proposes,” Mr Serwotka said in a letter to Ms Horner.
RCTU lists its offices as an office in Liverpool above an e-cigarette shop.