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Tuesday, 4 June 2013

solidarity with PCS tax and welfare strikes this week:

From a PCS press release: A week of rolling strikes involving 135,000 workers from the two largest government departments kicks off today, 3 June. Starting in north east England and Yorkshire and the Humber today, and in the north west tomorrow, jobcentre and benefit office staff from the Department for Work and Pensions join tax workers from HM Revenue and Customs in a series of regional walkouts until Friday. The strikes form part of the union's three-month civil service-wide campaign against imposed cuts to pay, pensions, jobs and working conditions, which has involved weeks of industrial action among the union's 250,000 public sector members since a national walkout on budget day on 20 March. The latest threat from Labour to universal benefits for pensioners is further proof that these two departments are at the heart of the political debate about public spending. The workers involved provide invaluable public services - with HMRC collecting and administering the taxes that fund all other public services and our welfare state that are currently being undermined by the Tory-led government. Successive years of cuts in HMRC have left the department unable to properly tackle the estimated £120 billion lost every year through tax evasion, avoidance and non-collection. And, despite high unemployment, DWP has cut 20,000 staff since May 2010 and the government is now threatening to cut even more support for people entitled to benefits. These strikes come as the union is campaigning to stop government plans to close all 281 of HMRC's walk-in tax advice centres in the UK and divert enquiries to already overloaded jobcentres. Pilot closures of 13 enquiry centres in the north east also starts today (3rd June). The union has previously announced it will hold a fresh national civil service-wide strike towards the end of June if the government continues to refuse to negotiate.

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