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Rolling HMRC strikes hit north-west England

A MERSEYSIDE income tax call centre was left completely deserted of staff yesterday as rolling strikes hit north-west England.

Up to 50,000 PCS members took industrial action over HMRC job cuts throughout the week. 

There have been 30,000 job losses in the government department over the last 10 years, according to union officials.

In Bootle around 3,000 HMRC staff were on strike across three sites.

At the Litherland House call centre 100 per cent of staff walked out, with only one senior manager left in the office.

Bootle branch secretary John Smith was on the picket line. He said: “The actions of the HMRC have really struck a chord — there’s been too many job losses and closures." 

Speaking about this week's announcement to axe 31 postal room positions at nearby St John’s House, Mr Smith said his members were standing firm with colleagues but were also concerned for their own futures.

He told the Star: “The decision was made to outsource their jobs to a private company.

“The less people work in the HMRC the more time managers have to spend pressuring people to hit targets. But they’re not managing anything — we’re just lurching from crisis to crisis.

“We can’t cope with the amount of work. There’s too much to do and too little people. 

"People are going on sick with stress and we’re not collecting tax that should be collected. We can’t answer calls because we’re not staffed sufficiently.”

A spokesperson for HMRC said it is “transforming to ensure that we continue to deliver the best possible service to our customers.”

PCS is currently balloting members for a nationwide strike on July 10 in conjunction with other public sector unions.

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