HMRC to go on strike

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The Public and Commercial Services Union (PSU) has called a strike for Budget day on 20 March, which will affect Treasury and HMRC employees, reports Chartered Accountants Northampton Harris & Co.

A PCS spokesperson said that the union is ‘very well represented at the HMRC with around 55,000 members, although the Treasury would probably be less affected by the action’ in terms of membership.

Nearly three quarters of HMRC employees are members of the union, with 73% of a total staff of 74,983, union members.

An HMRC spokesperson said that the choice of Budget day for the walkout ‘was symbolic more than anything’.

In terms of the impact on the day, HMRC added: ‘We will be trying to make sure that things happen as smoothly as possible on the day.

‘Most of the Budget stuff is prepared weeks in advance so it won’t affect Budget delivery. The Budget report will have been printed by then; it’s always printed a few days in advance. ‘The message is that we will remain open. During the industrial action HMRC will do everything it can to maintain services to the public.’

The series of walkouts and protests by almost a quarter of a million civil and public servants will start with a strike on 20 March.

This will be followed by other national and sector-specific strikes and industrial action as the union steps up its opposition to cuts to pay, pensions and working conditions. The union has asked for talks on the key issues affecting civil servants, but the government has refused to negotiate.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "This is not a one-day protest; this is the start of a rolling programme of walkouts and disruptive action to put pressure on a government that is refusing to talk to us.’

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