A city MP has called for “urgent action” over the future of HMRC staff in Dundee facing uncertainty over the closure of Sidlaw House and collapse of a promised jobs transfer.
Nearly 500 workers were told they would move over to Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) prior to the closure of the centre in 2022 but were later dealt a “devastating betrayal” after it was revealed positions could not be guaranteed.
Staff have now been promised early access to jobs at the new Scottish Government benefits agency Social Security Scotland following a campaign by local MSPs Joe FitzPatrick and Shona Robison.
Dundee West MP Chris Law, who previously received written assurances from the UK Government that staff would be transferred to DWP contracts, met financial secretary to the Treasury Mel Stride to push for updates.
Mr Law voiced concerns raised with him over staffing levels and workload pressures at Sidlaw House, particularly now that the closing date has been postponed by a year.
It is thought the number of people now working at the centre is significantly lower than in spring last year.
He also pushed for the centre to be kept open given the large amount of work the workforce continues to deal with, and called on Mr Stride to back the campaign to give UK civil servants, including HMRC staff, an above-inflation pay rise.
Mr Law said: “I continue to be extremely disappointed with the Government’s decision to close Sidlaw House, which has a highly-skilled and continually busy workforce.
“They must do all they can to support the workforce in the coming years and not further betray them.
“Mel Stride MP must stand up for his civil servants and back a proper pay-rise above-inflation. The hard work and sacrifices that many of these workers have made should be finally recognised, and the UK Government must listen.
“This was a productive meeting and I will be putting additional pressure on the minister over the coming weeks and months.”
Mr Law and the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), the body representing civil service workers, warned earlier this month some UK Government staff in Dundee had been struggling to feed and house themselves after years of “poverty pay”.
A HMRC spokesperson said: “We will continue to ensure Sidlaw House has the right levels of staff for the work until we move out in spring 2022.
“We recognise that this is a difficult time for our people in Dundee and will do everything we can to support them on an individual basis, to work through possible options, identifying redeployment opportunities and offering career support.”