Majority of HMRC staff vote for strike action

According to the union, which has 55,000 members within HMRC, over half (52 per cent) voted for strike action, while 77 per cent voted for other forms of industrial action including protests.

It is the latest trade union protest against cuts in public spending after workers in the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) started a month long series of strikes last week. Civil service strikes in the health and education sector also took place on 10 May.

HMRC members are particularly against plans to cut a further 10,000 jobs from the department by 2014/15, as well as a reduction to pensions and pay.

30,000 posts have been cut from HMRC since April 2005 when it was formed between the merger of the Inland Revenue and HM Revenue and Customs. The union has said the service does not have enough resources to collect all the taxes that are due.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "When reducing the budget deficit is supposedly the government's number one priority, it makes absolutely no economic sense to cut ever more staff from the very department responsible for collecting the taxes that fund all our other public services.

"The government should be investing to improve services, tackle the tax dodgers and get our economy back on its feet."

MPs in last month's Public Accounts Committee report said HMRC could have collected a further £1.1 billion if jobs were not cut adding: "The Department must consider whether further staff cuts will deliver value for money for the taxpayer."

The union is also opposed to a year-long trail with private companies to handle call centre tax credit enquiries - a move, it fears, hints at 'creeping privatisation' within HMRC.

A HMRC spokesperson, as reported in the national press, said: "HMRC is disappointed with the decision to strike and will do everything it can to maintain services to the public.

"We are seeking dialogue with the PCS to address their concerns and will work to minimise any disruption to customers in the event of strike action."

HMRC representatives are to meet within the next few weeks to discuss any plans.