PCS to strike

The important thing to remember here is that this is not a strike about anything so cyclical as the current government not liking taxmen.

The union said it was fighting plans to cut thousands of jobs in the department over the next few years, adding that 30,000 posts had already been lost since 2005.

This is over something structural. Gordon Brown\’s merging of IR and C&E is the real point here. The entire point of which, at least as stated, was to be able to go away with tens of thousands of taxman jobs.

And thus the astroturfing from Ritchie about it all. Funded by PCS of course. It\’s a long term problem for the union: if we only have one tax organisation then yes, of course, we can do this with less staff than if we have two tax organisations. Something a union just doesn\’t want to hear, does it?

This really is what all of Ritchie\’s blathering about the tax gap is over. The structural changes to the tax system insisted upon by Gordon Brown. Nothing else at all is involved.

8 thoughts on “PCS to strike”

  1. Are you saying that Gordon Brown did the right thing? It’s ok to say so.

    Tim adds: Actually, I thought it was an extremely bad idea. But over legal powers. C&E has always had much more fierce powers over entry and warrants etc than IR. The merger transferred those over. Not good for freedom or liberty.

  2. Surely a merger that reduces the civil service wage bill is a good thing. But yes, never heard of a union agreeing that reduction in staff is ever in any way a good idea.
    Many years ago I was in the pre-curser to the PCS union, the plan was to get rid of the reprographic section (2 day turnaround on copying). Of course the union campaigned, went on strike etc. Made no difference – except we had a photocopier in each room, copying took seconds, and small reduction in unit staff. March of progress, and cheap lease on copiers…. but union could not allow staff to go without a fight.

  3. I can remember a tax union rep saying on television that “they needed more staff to administer this simplified tax system”. (Not likely to be a problem under Brown you might think, although I think I’m remembering something from Brown’s early days.)

  4. I’m not going to strike but can I claim 1 / 220th off my corporate and personal tax bills this year?

    It’ll will buy me some decent whisky which I can use to toast the immanent immolation of Serwotka by his disgruntled peons.

  5. PaulB – in the end it comes down to whether collecting taxes is the same thing as discouraging smuggling , gun-running, illegal immigration etc. Smuggling and tax collection share a nexus of similarity. The other things that were handled by HMC seem far-removed from the realms of calculating and administering extremely complicated taxes. but, of course, you always know better.

  6. So Much For Subtlety

    This is over something structural. Gordon Brown’s merging of IR and C&E is the real point here. The entire point of which, at least as stated, was to be able to go away with tens of thousands of taxman jobs.

    That may have been the intent, but as someone with some minor experience of civil servant mergers, that is not how it actually works out in practice.

    The plan is to get rid of some secretaries and tea ladies, which they do. But then they have to bring in a new layer of management. Which has to be more senior and better paid than the old layer of management because they are managing more people now. That also means the new management needs new offices. All this adds up – and in the majority of cases, I suspect, the costs are already greater.

    But there is another cost – the management is now more remote. Indeed they will probably come from outside and so not have a clue what anyone is doing. So they will have to hire more middle managers to co-ordinate everyone. Which means they will have to hire more secretaries – and have a new executive dining room. They will also have to conduct regular performance and structural reviews – as no one in senior management knows anything. All this adds up.

    So what you are actually going to get is a transfer of posts from lower down the two organisations – a lot fewer tea ladies and a lot worse canteens for one thing – to the senior levels of management. Nothing will be saved at all and it will almost inevitably cost more. Not to mention the problems with morale and good will from said lower peons.

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