HMRC workers in East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire, and in Newcastle have walked out in a dispute over pay and conditions and have downed tools for 18 days until 2 June.
The PCS union has said that their members have not had a pay rise in 13 years and are demanding a 10% pay increase as the UK is in the middle of the “worst cost of living crisis” ever.
John Davidson, PCS branch president for HMRC in East Kilbride, said members are taking action to get a fair pay rise from the Government.
He told the PA news agency: “Our members have not had a proper pay rise from the Government for 13 years in the middle of the worst cost-of-living crisis that any of us have ever suffered.
“When the cost of living is going up exponentially, the cost of food, fuel, heating bills etc is increasing again and again, it’s unfair for our members to have to survive on no more than a 2% pay rise, which is the last official offer that we’ve had, so that’s why we’re out on strike today.
“Ten per cent was the initial pay claim but obviously the cost of living continues to increase and our members aren’t just suffering that now, they have suffered that for over a decade, so the actual cost of their wages compared to what they were 13 years ago is significantly lower when you look at the rising cost of living, so 10% is our baseline, but the offer from the Government is nowhere near that at the moment.
“Since we served notice of this action on employers, we’ve recruited hundreds of additional members between here and the other office in Newcastle that’s out on strike today so they’re definitely up for the fight.”
Davidson added, “This is not just about selfish civil servants taking action in defence of pay, this is about us defending public services.”
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “In HMRC alone, almost one in three staff are now on the national minimum wage.
“In DWP (the Department for Work and Pensions), one in five staff are having to claim in-work benefits.
“These people are the Government’s own workforce, who are suffering the consequence of year after consecutive year of meagre pay rises leaving tens of thousands of them in financial crisis.
“We will not accept being left behind. We will not accept being treated like the poor relation. PCS members are determined to keep the pressure on until the Government improves its offer to us.”