Anger over 3.4% pay hike for HMRC staff ‘needed to keep pace with minimum wage’
Union berates department for being forced into the move to comply with National Living Wage
HM Revenue and Customs is to give its lowest paid staff a 3.4% pay rise from April in a cap-busting move required to comply with changes to the National Living Wage.
Civil service union the PCS said the increase was necessary to bring the pay of 1,455 admin assistant grade staff into line with the government’s own legislation.
It said the HMRC pay increase for AAs would take their salary from £16,600 to £17,167 from April 1, which is when the hourly National Living Wage for workers aged 25 and over increases from £7.50 to £7.83. Workers aged 21-24 will also see their hourly minimum wage rise by 33p from £7.05 to £7.38.
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Inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index currently stands at 2.8%, significantly ahead of the 1% cap on public sector pay rises that has been in force since 2012. The PCS is supporting a call by the Trades Union Congress for a 5% pay rise for all public sector workers.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said it was a “shocking” indictment of civil service pay that Whitehall’s second-biggest department needed to make special adjustments to comply with the government legislation.
“Years of austerity pay freezes and caps has meant some of our lowest paid members have to take second jobs or visit food banks to survive,” he said.
“Ninety-nine percent of PCS members voting in a national ballot said they are prepared to consider strike action if government does resource public services so they can adequately fund an above inflation pay rise for all staff.
“The failure in the recent budget to listen to the concerns of its own workforce is a major error on the part of the chancellor. Unless the government changes track quickly, then PCS members will be forced to ballot for industrial action on the issue.”
Last week the union warned that it would be preparing for strike action in the new year, and working to ensure that it could achieve a majority turnout for the vote, as required by the Trade Union Act 2016.
The recent consultative ballot fell just short, with a 49% turnout.
Responding to a request for comment, a HMRC spokesman said: "HMRC is fully committed to the statutory National Minimum and Living Wages, and we pay our most junior staff above the 2017 National Living Wage, regardless of age."
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