In an escalation of the attack on civil service workers, bosses at HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) issued 150 compulsory redundancy notices on Tuesday of last week.
Civil service union PCS said it was considering industrial action. Compulsory redundancies have been a red line for the union.
The PCS’ HMRC Group Executive is set to meet on Wednesday of next week to plan a response.
Group Executive member Marianne Owens spoke to Socialist Worker in a personal capacity. She said, “This is an attack on the whole civil service. This paves the way for how they will treat staff in other departments.
“We need a robust response to the redundancies—we can’t be walked all over.”
It will take strikes to save jobs across the civil service, and a political campaign that contrasts bosses’ tax-dodging with the job losses.
These cuts could be the first of thousands more sackings. HMRC bosses announced a plan to close 137 tax offices last November—meaning the loss of a possible 8,000 jobs.
Many more workers could lose their jobs if they can’t relocate to one of 13 new regional tax centres that will replace the offices in HMRC’s “modernisation” programme.
More than 10,000 HMRC jobs have been cut since 2010.
The sackings come as Tory ministers prepare to launch an attack on public sector redundancy pay.
The Tories want a cap on redundancy payments that could hit some workers on just £24,611 a year.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka is calling for coordinated campaigning against the cap along with other public sector unions.
Other civil service departments are also under attack. Some 250 jobs are threatened at the Business, Innovation and Skills office in Sheffield.
Figure it out
- 137 tax offices earmarked for closure last November on top of 250 offices and 281 centres shut since 2010
- 8,000 jobs could go, on top of the 10,000 already lost
- £119.4bn revenue lost in avoided, evaded or late tax in 2014