IRD confirms 4200 staff affected by restructuring

IRD says feedack from consultation has meant a number of changes to what was originally proposed.

Inland Revenue has confirmed its Public Service Association claim that its restructuring will affect more than 4,000 staff though has stopped short of confirming that it will mean a 30% reductoin in staffing numbers by 2021.

The tax authority closed some of its services today so it could inform staff about the planned changes to the organisation, including its ageing IT infrastructure, which Budget papers revealed is expected to cost up to $2.61 billion to replace.

Earlier the PSA indicated it could affect up to 4000 staff in varying ways.

The IRD has been discussing the changes with the PSA for more than a year but the final decision document “provides little transparency regarding possible reductions in staffing levels,” says the staff union, which has more than 3000 IRD workers as members.

The organisational changes will be made from February 12 next year a month later than originally planned.

Inland Revenue Commissioner Naomi Ferguson said in a written statement that as a result of staff comments, 18 additional specialist positions have been added.

"One thing from the original proposal that has not changed though - there will be no reduction in frontline customer services staff," she says.

The 3,300 customer-facing staff are being offered new roles or confirmed straight into new ones. A further 900 roles are on offer, though affected staff won't automatically be able to apply because of the mix changing - few management roles and more specialist roles.

Staff have 15 working days to make decisions about accepting new roles.

“The loss of expert staff and the lack of certainty for workers reapplying for more simplistically modified roles means important regulatory changes to the tax system rest on shaky foundations,” the PSA says.

The business transformation plan may be undermined by the timing of staffing changes and could threaten the integrity of New Zealand’s tax system.

The PSA is also concerned about the weakening of career development pathways for long-serving and new staff, potential salary cuts and the creation of “broad-strokes” roles that don’t necessarily recognise the expertise and specificity of workers’ knowledge, it says.

“There is a lot of vague corporate rhetoric and the language of restructuring being used by IRD management to hide the very real effects on expert staff,” PSA national secretary Erin Polaczuk says.

“Make no mistake – this proposal contains future commitments to reduce the IRD’s workforce by 30% by 2021 and this is the first step in accomplishing that,” Ms Polaczuk says.

“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 IRD call centres.”

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