Report to RCTU Members
This is a general report from the RCTU General Secretary to all RCTU Members
Dear friends and colleagues,
Welcome to the Annual Report for this year.
Britain does need a pay rise - but for public sector workers there is continuing unremitting austerity. HMRC staff deserve a significant pay rise for the incredible work you do for the UK. While it could be calculated in many ways – a real time 25% pay cut over the last 10 years is the reality for those who have not gained promotion. This is appalling and a disgrace.
At the time of writing this Annual report to you, I see that the recognised union, PCS is balloting its hard-pressed members on whether they are willing to take indefinite strike action.
But industrial action without a strategic plan to put before the employer that invests in the workforce is not the answer. More wrongly, PCS must receive a mandate of 50% of the membership in favour of their open-ended strike action. They are playing a dangerous game with their credibility and that of the Trade Union movement, as member turnouts in ballots have dropped lower than ever. If they don't gain their mandate they will place HMRC staff at the mercy of the employer.
RCTU’s position remains honestly pragmatic - we will negotiate to get the best deal for members, reflecting what they want us to do and not putting members in a position of losing pay and gaining nothing.
Our members have expressed concern that PCS will implement an overtime ban - RCTU are not in dispute and while we oppose overtime in principle, we completely understand that members need the extra money to break even. This is a depressing situation, but does calling members out on strike improve it? You have told us that it does not!
Regarding recognition - HMRC continues its policy against voluntary recognition, denying its employees any genuine choice of trade union and denying itself the opportunity of listening to the views of its employees in RCTU. National negotiations in critical areas are entirely absent – Compliance fir the Future, Making Tax Digital, Building our Future (BOF) and many other critical policies and new processes are being implemented unchallenged. PCS refusal to represent their members in negotiations on potential hub locations outside of regional centres which is predicated on opposition to BoF, abrogates their responsibilities as a a trade union.
We exist to protect and improve the terms and conditions of our members and negotiations should be at the heart of that principle.
I am sad to report that our membership has not increased overall. There are many contributing factors for this, including the apathy caused by years of PCS failure. Our core offer, based on a comprehensive insurance scheme for each individual member and their family cannot be topped. Our members have recently benefitted from – as an example - emergency boiler cover, meaning they don't have to take out separate insurance. Our members really appreciate the service they receive from our insurers, feedback is excellent and there is no waiting when claims are made.
Our local representatives are the most experienced in operational areas, providing advice and insight in all areas of the Department. We are dealing with multiple personal cases of discrimination of BAME members, allegations of criminality and breaches of Acceptable Use Policy. We have even been approached by PCS members seeking advice on pensions and how the move to regional centres will affect them. These people need to join RCTU to get the support they need - but they have misplaced loyalties, mixed with peer pressure and sheer apathy. Faced with these intractable obstacles, we have found it difficult to recruit.
We continue to maintain contact and dialogue with the CEO and Chief People Officer to enable the views of our members to be heard and taken into consideration.
We highlight your dedication to public service in the UK and how that deserves reward and not pay “restraint” that has cost members 25% in real pay cuts over the past 10 years. HMRC cannot rely on the goodwill of its people indefinitely and they continue to repeat the mistakes of the past - when they lost so many experienced colleagues to early retirement. The skills gap in HMRC has never recovered from the exodus that took place in the last decade.
I will put on record my heartfelt thanks to our reps who have worked tirelessly to support our members, my thanks to the officers and NEC of the RCTU. We all have full time jobs in HMRC and VOA and the personal dedication to the RCTU of these people is an inspiration. I must single out Lynden Melrose – Deputy General Secretary - for his unwavering loyalty and dedication to RCTU, our principles and our people. His energy knows no bounds and I am thankful to have him in our organisation.
Lastly and by no means least, I want to personally thank each and every member of the RCTU for your stalwart support.
My warmest and kindest regards to you all.
I am extremely proud to be your General Secretary.
16th June 2018
These are the formal Financial accounts for the year ended 31/12/17. They have been prepared by independent accountants.
The period in question has been difficult due the size of the start-up costs. These have been financed by personal loans and some of those remain debts as at 31/12/16. This current financial year is seeing the repayment of those and in 2016 saw the repayment of the major loan. The overall operating situation is now positive and the outlook is favourable.
In accordance with, and as required by, Section 32A of Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 – please see the attached.