Union fears for HR function in Inland Revenue merger

The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union is seeking urgent talks with the Inland Revenue (IR) over its proposals for the future of its HR function once it has merged with Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise.

The IR has proposed the creation of four HR centres around the UK to serve the merged organisation, creating a surplus of 500 HR staff, according to Ian Lawrence, group secretary of the IR section of the PCS union.

He said that with HR service centres in Scotland, Newcastle, North-West England, and Nottingham, the merged department would not be able to properly support staff. “The locations leave a large tranche of the UK without specialist HR processes. Also, we do not agree that there will be a surplus of 500 HR staff after the merger,” he said.

Lawrence said the IR had made a commitment that there would be no compulsory redundancies, and he expected it to honour that commitment. PCS was exploring redeploying HR staff and early retirement schemes, he said.

A spokeswoman for the IR said there was no figure set on the number of surplus HR staff following the merger. “This has to be taken in context of the Gershon report, which expects a reduction in staff of 12,500 after the merger,” she said. “HR will naturally be part of that.”

The spokeswoman said staff in the merged department would receive adequate support from the four service centres, with the introduction of an e-HR system.

She said the system was now working properly, after experiencing difficulties in February, when only management were given access to it on a Monday (Personnel Today, 1 March).

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