Some 400 HMRC helpline service advisers who are members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union have been on strike intermittingly since 10 May 2023. These strikes are by staff working in HMRC’s East Kilbride and Newcastle offices. The striking workers are with the department of Personal Taxation Operations on Employer Service.
The following are the strike dates that were announced:
- 10-12 May
- 15-19 May
- 22-26 May
- 29-31 May
- 1 and 2 June
These dates exclude weekends and effectively mean that employer services were affected until 5 June 2023.
It has been widely acknowledged that these strikes are having a serious impact on HMRC’s helplines which were already struggling to cope with demand.
Specifically, there have been many reports of long delays to those trying to contact the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) helpline. The CIS helpline is widely used to help those registering for the CIS and to resolve issues that arise with CIS deduction rates. This means that affected subcontractors may be paying more tax than necessary, with a long wait to recover the overpaid amounts.
The strikes are also having a significant impact on other helplines including the employer helpline, student loans unit, PAYE registrations, maternity, paternity and sick pay.