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General News Update

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

It is now just over 10 years since the Inland Revenue and HM Customs and Excise merged to form HMRC.

The staff magazine PULSE has various articles regarding this milestone but it is worth stating some other pertinent points.

  • The staff numbers have reduced dramatically to just less than 60000.
  • Hundreds of offices have closed.
  • Pay has been reduced significantly in real terms.
  • Local Enquiry Centres have closed.
  • The Civil Service Compensation Scheme (CSCS) has been dramatically reduced.
  • The Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme (PCSPS) has been “reformed”.

What is your feedback on the past 10 years?

  • New annual appraisal systems? Their efficacy of implementation? PMR still tops the charts of HMRC staff complaints and has done for the last decade in its various iterations. Is performance management a necessary process? Our employer would say yes, but the core issue is the bureaucracy, the paperwork and the pressure it causes to staff and management.
  • More systems? Less operational time?
  • More “strategic change”? The Change churn – where exactly is the “strategic change” taking us as a Department and as individuals. We want to know what the future holds in plain language that is coherent and understandable. We want a timeline that runs through to 2020 with staffing and locations in parallel, underwritten by HMRC deliverables and incorporating major digital projects. As staff we are deeply interested in how our work delivers for UK PLC, it is a vocation we take seriously. When will the employer trust us and use our skills and expertise to shape the future of HMRC?
  • The “fantastic yield” increases?
  • The more caseworkers that are notionally operational? The “training” which can lead to you using your job (aside from the fact too much is superfluous to the actual job)? It needs to be focused, grade appropriate and cover not just technical aspects of the job but help and support for new system roll-outs.
  • The “fantastic” change in your terms and conditions after you finally achieve promotion?

We would like to hear your views and your ideas to form a negotiating agenda. Members can use the Contact Us form on the website (the link appears below) or just pick up a phone or drop us an email – it is all in confidence.

What has the previous Union done to protect HMRC staff in this time?

  • Failed to engage the employer on a national basis to influence policy with reasoned rational argument.
  • Failed to capitalise on the political will across political parties to combat tax avoidance/evasion due to extremist views and total opposition to change.
  • Failed to challenge the employer on the tax advantage ethos that is enjoyed by high net worth individuals across business, media, music and sport.
  • Failed totally on pensions, missed an opportunity to gain advantageous terms in 2010 when other Civil service unions did just that by pointless grandstanding and incredible hubris.  As a result the Council of civil service unions no longer exists and there is no employee voice at cabinet office level for HMRC people.

Do not just take our word for it. See also


How can an integral Term and Condition of your employment be changed without any legal challenge and only fruitless one day strikes? The question that has never been answered. 

ALPHA pays much less in benefits that the previous Pension schemes and in particular impacts those on low pay and part time.

If you do not talk and talk in concert with other Trade Unions – this is what happens.


This is why HMRC staff require a new Trade Union. One that works only for you. One that is not linked in any way to any political party, group or faction (see Rule 2.5). One that will work with other Civil Service Trade Unions to form a new body to talk to the Cabinet Office and defend your terms and conditions.

One of the more surreal comments to reach us in the last week was the accusation from PCS that we are in league with Conservative Central Office. After we stopped laughing we merely complimented the messenger for repeating such unfounded and frankly stupid comments that cannot be taken seriously.

Membership continues to increase steadily and is now well into three figures. We know we need more to be able to have meaningful discussions with the employer about formal recognition for collective bargaining purposes. We expect a surge after the 30th of April and the demise of salary deductions (known as “check off”) if other departments where this has happened are anything to go by. Tell your colleagues about the RCTU – there is a real and viable alternative.

If you want a Trade Union that has only one purpose – protecting and promoting the interests of HMRC staff – it is the RCTU.

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