The PCS union is now facing a major crisis in it's HMRC group as leaked documents to their Group Executive Committee shows. They have failed to sign up of half their membership by direct debit as the deadline looms next month and competition has appeared in the form of a new breakaway union, the Revenue & Customs Trade Union.
So bad is the situation that PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka has been pleading for the end of "check off" to be delayed at a meeting with senior management last month. Relations between the PCS and the department have "been at an all time low" according to Chief Executive Lin Homer.
Responding to Serwotka's request for more time Homer responds that PCS were initially informed in November that "check off would end", and:
" When ExCom took the decision to remove the facility PCS were given over three months notice of the change with final deductions to be made from the April payroll on the 30th of that month. PCS were already actively persuading members to change their payment method before I formally informed representatives of the intention to consult and that given by April 30th it will be six months from 10th November I believe HMRC has provided adequate time for PCS to encourage its members who wish to remain in the union to change their payment method."
I do not think there is any value to you, your members or HMRC in now altering the declared date.
A quite clear response.
However Serwotkas replies in a letter dated March 13th:
"..it is therefore disappointing that your letter has not addressed the key points we made at or meeting, particularly on check off where you have rejected our proposal for an extension to the time available to the time available for switching our members to direct debit".
As it happens I totally oppose the end of "check off", but the problem with Serwotka is he either can't read or more likely exists in a dreamworld where he always gets his own way. The answers he was given were clear.
The real problem is not with management but with PCS. Barely just over 40% have signed up for DD despite strenuous efforts by the unions reps. The question the comrades should be asking is why members so reticent, particularly in the HMRC about remaining in PCS.
There is widespread dissatisfaction in the union (and not just the HMRC) about the way PCS has been run.
I don't just mean to financial ruin.
One of the other points raised by the comrades was a demand, not a request that Management refuse to talk to the new RCTU union.
On this Lin Homer also responds quite clearly:
"You asked for a guarantee that HMRC would not speak to representatives of the newly formed RCTU. I cannot provide that absolute guarantee but I hope you are reassured that HMRC was in no way responsible in the formation of the group nor did we give them any encouragement. Rather I believe the formation of the RCTU has its roots in internal disagreements within PCS. There have been a small number of informal meetings with those responsible for forming the RCTU in order to ensure HMRC is aware of what RCTU are seeking to do in our business. HMRC's position in respect of RCTU is entirely neutral and no facility time or other resources have been provided to RCTU. HMRC's position going forward will, under current legislation, have to be informed by their ability to attract and retain members."
Of course the RCTU is a newly founded union and it will take time for them to establish themselves. They are a certificated union and obviously pose a bigger threat to PCS than Serwotka and his chums are prepared to admit.
Clearly PCS in the HMRC is in sharp decline.
A situation of the PCS far-lefts own making. The unions current crisis (not just in the HMRC) all stems from Serwotka's ridiculous posturing of threatening a strike by Border Staff at airports based on an 11% turnout the day before the Olympics.
The other unions were rightly furious then and we are all reaping the consequences of Serwotkas nonsense.
No wonder so many people are seeking an alternative.