ARC, the FDA's HMRC section, have welcomed interim Permanent Secretary Jim Harra's admission that his department's pay is in "crisis".
The section is now urging HMRC to work with the union and deliver crucial reform to the department's pay system.
Speaking to the Treasury Select Committee, Harra identified three key issues with HMRC pay. These include a longstanding lack of real-terms pay increases (which, he noted, were real-terms cuts if you took pension and national insurance increases into account) and the “inbuilt unfairness” that arises from an absence of pay scale progression (meaning two people can do the same job on different salaries). He also warned that wage stagnation is set to push some administrative grade staff’s wages below the statutory minimum by next year.
Responding to Harra’s oral evidence, ARC Deputy President Loz Hutton said:
"We welcome the public acknowledgement from Jim Harra of the longstanding issues with pay and that HMRC are proposing action to address these. These are the problems we have consistently raised both in pay claims and in discussions with the department for the last five years.
“These problems are not limited to HMRC. There is a fundamental need for increased funding across all government departments to resolve systemic pay issues. They cannot simply be resolved by submitting a business case.
“Having surveyed our members on pay, we look forward to putting their views to HMRC, and working with the department to address the problems with pay.”
Almost 600 FDA members working in HMRC took part in the ARC survey, which yielded deeply concerning results. 95% of respondents described themselves as dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their pay award, while 77% said the pay award has decreased morale. 54% have “seriously considered looking for another job so they can leave HMRC” in the last twelve months, with 23% are actively looking for a new role so they can leave the department.
Both Hutton and the survey results were quoted in Civil Service World.