Serious concerns for staff at Inland Revenue as details of restructure confirmed

Inland Revenue’s final decision document on their proposed business transformation shows that the organisation is making sweeping changes to staff roles that will affect service delivery during the rollout of major changes to the tax system, says the Public Service Association.

"The PSA has been in discussions with Inland Revenue for over a year, and today’s announcement shows that the organisation have not taken the concerns of over 3000 PSA members into account," says Erin Polaczuk.

"The final decision document - which provides little transparency regarding possible reductions in staffing levels - indicates that organisational changes will be made from February 2018, with the rollout of Stage 2 of IR’s computer system changes beginning just 2 months later."

"The loss of expert staff and the lack of certainty for workers reapplying for more simplistically modified roles means that important regulatory changes to the tax system rest on very shaky foundations."

"This could affect up to 4000 staff in varying ways at this stage of the restructure, and this has not been fully explained."

PSA members at Inland Revenue have expressed concerns during consultation that the organisation’s business transformation plan will be undermined by the timing of its staffing changes, which as a result could threaten the integrity of New Zealand’s tax system.

Broader concerns included the plan’s weakening of career development pathways for long-serving and new staff, potential salary reductions and the creation of broad-strokes roles that don’t necessarily recognise the expertise and specificity of workers’ knowledge.

"There’s a lot of vague, corporate rhetoric and the language of restructuring being used by IR management to hide the very real effects on expert staff," says Ms Polaczuk.

"Make no mistake - this proposal contains future commitments to reduce IR’s workforce by 30% by 2021, and this is the first step in accomplishing that."

"Whether you call it ‘streamlining’ or ‘cost-cutting’, this plan could negatively affect our country’s ability to pursue tax avoidance and compliance, as well as making life much more difficult for ordinary people seeking tax advice from IR call centres."

"Staff deserve fair wages for the work they do, an opportunity to occupy roles that fit their specific expertise, and decent treatment and engagement with their employer when major changes are made to how an organisation delivers its service."

"We accept that technological shifts in society sometimes necessitate organisational redesign, but it can be done collaboratively and can benefit from the experience of workers rather than work against them."