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Monday 31st
posted by Morning Star in Britain

Thousands of HMRC staff declare war on public-sector pay cap

THOUSANDS of tax office staff will stage payday protests across the country today against the government’s public-sector wage cap.

Civil servants’ union PCS members working for HM Revenue and Customs will attend rallies to send a powerful message to management that they will not accept a below-inflation 1 per cent pay rise.

Wages in the Civil Service have fallen by around 12 per cent in real terms over the past decade, which has also seen a programme of office closures, the union said.

The union highlighted the fact that many public-sector workers are being forced to turn to payday loans and foodbanks just to pay bills and feed their families.

At the same time, PCS pointed out that the cap was causing widespread pay inequality as workers’ pay is frozen while chief executives’ wages skyrocket.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said there was now an “overwhelming and unarguable case to end the public-sector pay cap to prevent a further decline in living standards in the coming years.”

He warned: “Members are angry at another year of a pay cut in real terms. With inflation well above the government pay cap, this puts more of our members in poverty.

“The government should be rewarding hard-working staff, not making them suffer.”

He added that today’s national protests will be the first of many as PCS works with other unions to challenge the government’s pay cap in the autumn.

PCS has written to HMRC chief executive Jon Thompson urging him to lobby against the pay cap.

The letter reads: “I call on you, as chief executive of HMRC, to make urgent representations to the Treasury to break the pay cap and pay all staff in HMRC a decent and fair pay award which reflects the years of pay restraint that we have had to endure.

“Immediately removing the 1 per cent pay cap will enable Civil Service employers to start the process of restoring the value of Civil Service pay by enabling you and other departments to negotiate increases in Civil Service pay above the rate of inflation.”

The union is calling for a pay rise of 5 per cent or £1,200, whichever is greater.