HMRC staff protest over public sector pay cap
Day of action marks response to "12% real terms fall in wages” over past decade, says union
HMRC chief executive and permanent secretary Jon Thompson appears before a select committee last year Credit: CSW
Scores of HM Revenue and Customs staff are today staging protest demonstrations over the continuation of the government’s 1% cap on public sector pay rises.
The Public and Commercial Services union said thousands of members would be participating in local events to voice their anger over the continuation of wage restraint.
The union, which is the civil service’s largest, has also been calling on members to write to HMRC chief executive and permanent secretary Jon Thompson to lobby the Treasury to end the cap and allow departments to make staff “a decent and fair pay award”.
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Introduced by the coalition government in 2012, the pay cap followed a two-year freeze in public-sector pay. Although it is officially due to continue until 2020, calls for its abandonment have grown since the Conservative Party lost its overall majority in last month’s snap general election.
Some cap-busting deals have been struck with the Treasury's consent, such as a Department for Work and Pensions agreement that offered staff better packages for increased flexibility on workplaces and hours.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said today marked the imposition of another below-inflation annual pay rise on the civil service, which would mean wages had fallen in real terms by around 12% over the past decade.
“Members are angry at another year of a pay cut in real terms,” he said. “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.
“This is the first in a series of protests from PCS members and we will be working with other TUC unions to challenge the government’s public sector pay cap in the autumn.”
PCS said that since 2007, inflation as measured by the Retail Price Index had risen by 25.3%, but median pay in the civil service had risen by only 13.7%.
It pointed to Office for Budget responsibility figures that suggested prices would rise by 18% between 2016 and 2021.
Protests are scheduled to take place today at more than 20 HMRC offices across England, Scotland and Wales.
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