IT staff are among 70,000 workers at HM Revenue and Customs who will begin a strike ballot today (Monday 7 January) over job cuts.
The PCS civil service union has warned that jobs under threat at HMRC include many working on data security, increasing the risk to personal data.
HMRC is still at the centre of inquiries into the data security debacle that saw 25 million people’s details, held on two CDs of child benefit claimant data, go missing last year.
PCS members are balloting for a one-day strike, to be followed by an overtime ban in a bid to halt plans for up to 250 office closures and around 25,000 job cuts across HMRC by 2011. The cuts are planned as part of civil service-wide efficiency savings.
If HMRC staff vote yes to strike action, a stoppage is planned for 31 January, which is the deadline for self-assessment tax returns.
The union also warned that with thousands of jobs already gone, HMRC is increasingly relying on the remaining staff working overtime and the employment of consultants.
The ballot will close on 23 January, with the result expected to be announced shortly afterwards.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka described moves to cut more jobs as “lunacy”, adding: “With office closures and 13,000 job cuts to date, the department is already running on empty resulting in deteriorating services.
“HMRC cannot deliver a quality service in the face of continued arbitrary cuts and the government and the department need to recognise that HMRC needs to be properly resourced and staffed if public confidence is to be restored.”
Contractor Capgemini is also set to cut up to 600 IT jobs on the massive Aspire IT contract at HMRC.
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