HM Revenue & Customs announced in February that it was running a pilot to “build capacity” in their Benefits & Credits directorate by outsourcing to the private sector. Like a previous trial in Contact Centres, this would be a transparent exercise in privatisation – but with the potential to go much further than previous exercises.
The move to use private sector contractors was provoked by the need to meet targets set by the Treasury. However, despite this proving that the department is under-resourced the funding for additional staff was denied and HMRC are using a private supplier on a “payment by results” basis. Despite claiming that existing jobs will not be affected, the fact remains that the work out to tender is work that should be done by civil servants.
More worryingly, whilst the initial pilot would involve around 30 staff, if successful after three months it would require 700 workers. This is a huge resource which, instead of being employed on the same pay and conditions as colleagues, can be used by the bosses to undercut existing staff.
A company called Transactis have won the contract for this privatisation. The latest update from PCS in HMRC states that “following this trial, Transactis could be in a more favourable position to bid for further long term work.” This marks a clear threat to the interests of workers in HMRC.
The government’s commitment to privatisation is clear. The only end result of these exercises is casualization and the undermining of pay, conditions and union strength. It must be resisted.
As such, on the Tuesday when HMRC & DWP staff are striking in the North West, where the trial takes place, we are calling for a communication blockade of both Transactis and of Nick Lodge, the Director of Benefits & Credits.
Telephone and email throughout the day, registering your objection to their involvement in privatisation and demanding that they pull out of the HMRC trial. The aim will be not only to register protest but to actively disrupt business as usual by tying up the phone lines.
Mobile: 07885 174684
Office: 020 7147 2135
Assistant: 020 7147 2138
0800 073 0762
0151 290 5500
You can also contact them on Twitter:
We ask that, if possible, folks make the effort to call. Emails and texts are easy to send, but they’re easy to ignore too. Phone calls are much more effective at disrupting business as usual.
Be creative. Complaints and messages of support are good, but so is playing music down the phone, taking the mick and tying up the phone lines in any way possible. Call back and call often.