HMRC Is Shite

HMRC Is Shite
Dedicated to the taxpayers of Britain, and the employees of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), who have to endure the monumental shambles that is HMRC.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

HMRC Cleaners Strike

The “national living wage” (NLW) was theoretically designed to boost low-paid workers’ income and help people off welfare. However, unsurprisingly some companies have been looking for ways to reduce the cost impact of the NLW.

Step forward ISS, the company that employs the HMRC cleaners in Liverpool.

ISS informed the HMRC cleaners them that it intended to claw back any increase in hourly pay by cutting each worker’s number of hours so that their overall wages stayed the same.

In theory this meant no changes to the take home pay, and a cut in working hours.

So far so good?

Except that single people on low pay who work at least 30 hours a week qualify for working tax credits. These are paid out by HMRC, which is also responsible for enforcing the NLW.

When ISS lopped two hours from their working week, the cleaners fell below the threshold and have, as a result, lost between £40 and £50 a week in tax credit payments each.

Hence the cleaners voted to go on strike for two days this week.

The Guardian notes the irony that ISS is a Danish company contracted by a Mapeley (Mapeley being offshore) offshoot to clean the buildings.

Now, of course, if the cleaners find additional hours in other work they will be able to have their tax credits reinstated. That of course all depends on the local job market.

The question is, if the number of hours cleaning has been reduced do the staff of HMRC who work in those offices notice any difference?

If not, then it seems ISS were overcharging HMRC for work that was not required before the hours were cut. If there is a noticeable decline in office cleanliness, then HMRC need to raise this with ISS.

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. Perhaps not as bad as no pay rise for x years, pensionable pay reductions etc.?

    1. My husband, a retired civil servant, sympathises with you. His view is that the integrity and professionalism of the civil service has suffered dramatically as a result of pay freezes and cuts in existing pension agreements. Consequently if you pay peanuts not only can you expect to attract monkeys but monkeys who may find a way of opening the employer’s till to supplement their meagre income.

  2. The integrity & professionalism of the Civil Service has suffered for a number of reasons. The pay freeze & disgraceful pension changes (which amount to a sneaky pay cut) has not helped with that, and nor does it lead to a happy & productive workforce, but the problems go much further. At the very top of the Civil Service you will not much of the media commenting on how those careerists have been politicized. At the top of HMRC you have Chief Executives in charge of a department which has done cosy deals with multinationals while hounding small business, they have nothing about the absolutely brutal bullying of their own staff and then they got bonuses and knighthoods for their troubles. All very demoralising for the frontline staff who do the superb work. Sadly therefore we can't expect HMRC to have any sympathy with a contractor's cleaners.

  3. HMRC as an employer is about level par with Sports Direct. No respect, no loyalty, no camaraderie, no cost of living rises, Spanish inquisition for sick leave, bullying junior management, unjust performance management system, disposal of people in wrong locations....

    1. The difference between Sports Direct and HMRC, is that in the case of the former the owner has taken great risks to build a successful business, generate tax money and employ people. Zero hour contracts are clearly not ideal, but for many, particularly many young staff, they offer employment solutions that fit around their life. HMRC, on the other hand, pretend to be something they are not and are taxpayer funded, as are the generous wages for those at the top, and they ought to be more than capable of being a model employer for others to follow. They are far from that however and the public should demand more integrity from them. Before some single out Sports Direct for OTT criticism they should take a look at the repugnant, and wholly unjustifiable, brutal bullying that goes on within HM Revenue & Customs. We never hear much noise about HMRC though and I wonder why???