Revenue and Customs workers in walkout as tax year begins

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THOUSANDS of Revenue and Customs workers will go on strike today in the latest phase of months of industrial action by civil servants in a row over jobs, pensions and terms and conditions.

Members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union will stage a half-day walkout until lunchtime, in a bid to disrupt the start of the new tax year.

Picket lines will be set up outside offices across the country, including call centres, processing offices and the face-to-face inquiry centres.

The union’s leader also confirmed that he in talks with counterparts about staging a general strike. Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS, said discussions were under way about action that would show people can “fight back”. He added: “My own opinion is that what the Government is doing is getting so increasingly unpopular that even a 24-hour strike involving millions of people across the economy would be an incredibly important moment.

“It would show that people can fight back and say we don’t just have to accept our lot.”

Today’s strike follows a walkout by PCS members in other government departments, courts, driving test centres and museums on Friday as part of a three-month campaign over cuts, which started with a national strike on Budget day, March 20.

However a 24-hour strike in the Home Office and UK Border Agency also planned for today, was postponed after a legal challenge, but will now be escalated to a week-long series of walkouts across various parts of the department in a fortnight’s time.

Mr Serwotka said the industrial action aimed to put pressure on ministers who were “refusing to talk” to the PCS.