Striking to "defend HMRC jobs," according to John Miller of PCS Cumbernauld and Kilsyth

Written by Scott Campbell.
Published at 17:28 BST on Tuesday 26th June 2012.

“The reason we are on strike today is to defend jobs in HMRC,” the words of Cumbernauld and Kilsyth Public and Commercial Services union office secretary.

Yesterday, (25th June) thousands of Public and Commercial Services union members went on strike against Government cuts to jobs, pension reforms and employment contracts.

Cumbernauld was one of the most successful strikes at a national Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs office, with ninety-five per cent of staff going on strike and ninety-eight per cent of local union members taking action.

Cumbernauld Media caught up with Cumbernauld and Kilsyth Public and Commercial Services union office secretary, John Miller, during the day of action and managed to get an exclusive video interview with him, which is available for viewing at the bottom of this page.

Commenting, John said: “The Government are claiming that the cuts that are taking place across the country, including our pensions, is down to the deficit, in the country.

“It doesn't seem right then that they should be cutting 10'000 additional jobs on top of the 25'000 jobs that they have already got rid of, at this particular time.

“The Public Accounts Committee has even estimated that the previous reduction in staff has been afflicted with the loss of 1.1 billion pounds in tax revenue.

“We believe that this dispute could easily be resolved if the Government actually reverses its programme and puts forward and employment contract for all those workers who have temporary jobs in the contact centres. It’s also about an attendance management policy which is discriminatory against disabled and the most vulnerable of our members and it’s our determination to get them to remove what we consider as discriminatory points.

“Similarly, they have got a programme of privatisation and just now they have got two companies operating - one in Bathgate and one in Cumbria - they are employing workers on less terms and conditions; no allowed to go to the toilet, people have to actually put their hands up, but at the same time, paying £3'000 less.

“The Government's attention is obviously to seek to extend this and we are taking this action today to say that this is not acceptable to us and in general we are going to campaign to defend our jobs, defend the service to the public and get money into the public purse and we won't accept this diktat from the present coalition Government. 

John added: “At the HMRC Cumbernauld site only eighty four people went in today, and that includes non-union members. That works out at approximately to ninety-five per cent of members have taken strike action. If we took only union members who went in today then the figure would be up to ninety-eight per cent.”