Thousands of angry tax workers walk out against the cuts in HMRC

Annette Mackin

Thousands of tax workers in the PCS union are walking out this week in a series of 24 hour regional strikes. Workers in the London, South East and South West regions walked out this morning, Wednesday.

They are angry over a number of attacks by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) bosses–not least the devastating job cuts.

Staff numbers have fallen from 104,000 in 2005 to a projected 60,000 next year. And there are plans to slash a further 22,000 jobs on top of this.

As well as throwing workers into unemployment, this makes it harder to chase down rich tax avoiders.

Mark was on the picket lead at HMRC headquarters in central London. He told Socialist Worker, “The cuts will lead to backlogs, and then there will be even less staff left to pick up the workload.”

Workers are also striking over the performance management system, through which they can be disciplined if they don’t meet targets.


As Tory David Gauke, Exchequer secretary to the Treasury, walked into his office at HMRC HQ he was bombarded by shouts of “Stop performance management!”

Dan Ingreji, PCS branch secretary at HMRC HQ, told Socialist Worker, “The performance management system is discriminatory. There’s evidence it targets women and ethnic minorities more.”

Mark added, “Performance management creates a huge amount of stress and has caused depression in some workers.”

PCS members are also being balloted over whether to join other workers on 10 July in a strike over pay.

“We hope that the strike in tax this week will help boost the turnout and raise awareness of the current ballot,” said Mark. The ballot is due to end next Monday.

The HMRC strikes involve some 50,000 workers, striking by region:

  • Monday, 23 June – Scotland and northern England
  • Tuesday, 24 June – Yorkshire and Humberside and Eastern England
  • Wednesday, 25 June – London and South East and South West England
  • Thursday, 26 June – Midlands and Northern Ireland
  • Friday 27 June – North West England and Wales.

Reprinted with permission