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General News - October 2017

Tuesday, October 17, 2017


We have watched with interest the “lifting” of the “pay cap”. Of course, this is too late for hard working HMRC staff in this year’s pay award. It has been interesting to note how this change to public sector pay has been seen by the UK population and other Trade Unions. What has been of more importance to the RCTU has been the reaction of HMRC staff. It would be amusing if it was not true and sad that a member of staff informed Robert Peston of the salary levels since 2010 and backed that up with their payslips. Peston commented of the impact of the public sector pay cap was that serious that “even the taxman” had legitimate issues with the degradation of their pay.

There is, nor can there be, any other conclusion that pay in HMRC has suffered grievously since 2010 but there are staff who suffered even more from 2006 onwards. This is mainly due to the failure of any form of pay progression and the multiple impacts of not only the pay freeze but changes to pensions. It is true that many staff have seen their pay hardly change in 10 years while the actual worth of their pay was eroded by inflation. The value of that erosion? Well it ranges up to 25% in some cases. Truly an appalling situation.

So, with the … “lifting” ….. of the cap does this mean a return to at least inflation equally pay rises or even a start at redressing the losses suffered over the years? Not a chance is our opinion. Until HMG and the public realise the impact on the HMRC staff who work so very hard to ensure the tax base is compliant (which it is far from being for a number of very complicated issues which are not the subject of this piece) and the huge value of the tax they do enforce to UK plc we are left in the proverbial place between the rock and the hard place. Do we abandon hope? Do we stage action? Neither of these options are viable or correct. So, what can be done?

There are a number of serious issues that will help with the pay situation that are in the hands of HMRC to redress the situation.

1: Pay Differentials between the grades

There are serious issues between the roles of the grades and the pay they receive and the pay gap between the grades. If work was undertaken here that was carefully thought out with proper and considered parameters discussed and understood by the involved stakeholders – we could make a significant difference.

2: Grading

All staff know and have experienced the situation where grading has been eroded significantly and that the work undertaken by various grades is basically the same. Grading is a shambles and there needs to be a full pay and grading exercise. This is not easy and is fraught with potential pitfalls BUT how else are we to address this issue? There will need to be careful discussions around how this could proceed not least to protect staff who have done work for years that is at a higher grade – we could not accept that the work is taken away from them just to fit a bureaucratic exercise so mechanisms will need to exist to protect individuals. As stated – not easy but possible to be done but with great care.

What else should the RCTU consider promulgating on behalf of members? We want to hear from members. Please contact us with your views on the above and other ideas.


Civil Service Compensation Scheme

We have received a lot of comment from members over this situation in the last few months. We have refrained from comment while awaiting the inevitable “new consultation”. This has now duly appeared and offers terms that are less than what was put in place in 2016, We are not surprised. Genie and bottle spring to mind.

The RCTU will respond especially to the attack on staff who have the misfortune to fall ill after faithful service to UK.

Members are invited to contact us with their views which will shape our response.

We require responses by 3/11/17.


Staff Survey

It is that time again! Members have already told us of their responses to date and they, as always, show the sorry state of affairs is widespread. The RCTU actively encourages members to complete the staff survey and does believe implicitly the CEO when he says HMRC will act on the survey results.


Performance Management

Yes – some of the changes being looked at derive from the staff survey but we are concerned over how this is being taken forward. The “survey results” seen on the Intranet to the simplistic questions smack to us of “wishful outcomes for senior leaders”. Read that as you will. We remain unconvinced and the reiteration of individual targets as a cornerstone and the inclusion, still, of subjective behaviour interpretations (this is being seen on an increased scale this year – again) that have no link to the Civil Service Competencies (the behaviour “concerns” – if they exist – are conduct matters not PM and require a much higher standard of proof than PM more than the proverbial [ that word again! - Ed ] “you may not challenge/question* me/it/HMRC*, even politely, as I am the boss so you must improve”. (*delete as appropriate) – fictitious? Not a chance. Reality.

We are still open to positive change for all involved in the PM process but remain wary of real change that improves the system. The views of members are, as always, sought – please contact us.

Mental Health

We welcome the increased awareness and support being given to staff who experience issues with their mental health and the focus and importance given to this subject by HMRC. However, the focus is on support and while that is quite correct and should be the case – where is the focus on the work-related aspects of this? What contributes in the workplace to this? Why has there been no survey to staff of what are the workplace issues that impact their health?

All staff know the workplace issues that impact here – ask them!

We want to hear from members what their experiences are so we can put those to the employer and challenge them to address the issues, Yes, some will be very difficult to address but some can and should be either opening stated and or solved.

What are your views? Please contact us.



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