PCS members in HMRC’s Personal Tax Operations (PT Ops) are currently being balloted for industrial action over a threatened trial of private contractors being used in Contact Centres (HMRC’s name for call centres.)
The ballot runs from 27th October to 17th November and although we have few PT Ops members in the branch we urge all our PT Ops members to vote Yes/Yes for strike action and action short of a strike.
We realise that there are a lot of demands on members at the moment but this is a vitally important ballot which could potentially affect all members.
Why It’s Important To Vote YES/YES
The Government’s Open Public Services white paper (.pdf) makes it clear that they want to privatise as much of the public sector as possible. Every trial brings them one step closer to that aim and we know that such trials are rarely admitted to be unsuccessful. When deciding how to vote you should consider these points:
- One of the ways private companies win Government contracts is by keeping costs down: this includes their employees’ pay, terms and conditions,
- After laying off 30,000 staff since 2005 HMRC have backlogs of post, debts uncollected and unanswered phone calls. A further 10,00 threatened job losses by 2015 can only exacerbate the problems. Private companies are already being used in Debt Management and Banking to plug some of the gaps caused by job losses. Your job could be next,
- Changes to our redundancy scheme and pensions will make it easier to get rid of us and make our jobs more attractive to private contractors,
- The trial could lead to the creation of a two tier workforce in contact centres with some people employed by HMRC while others work for the private companies,
- Private companies have a legal obligation to maximise profits for their shareholders. HMRC’s obligation is to our customers, the public, not shareholders.
The trial is still out to tender so we have a good chance of getting HMRC management to reconsider but this will be helped if there’s a strong Yes/Yes vote on a good turnout. Don’t let the privatisation wedge drive any further in to HMRC.