Concentrix: Victimising the Working Poor

download-4By Tyler McNally

In May 2014, Concentrix was awarded a £75 million contract from Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to deliver £1bn in tax credit savings by finding and fixing fraudulent claims or claims made in error. They were responsible for examining and investigating tens of thousands of tax credit claims over an initial three-year period.

After three months of crippling IT failures, it became very clear that Concentrix was mishandling the contract. Claimants were receiving letters asking if an undeclared partner was living at their address based on questionable or outright incorrect information and had their claims suspended as a result. This pushed many claimants into extreme poverty, many of whom were already among the most vulnerable in society.

Two and a half years later, HMRC has been forced to abandon a contract that it was very close to renewing despite the concerns repeatedly raised by claimants, the PCS civil service union and many media reports.

Attacks on working poor encouraged

With less than one month’s training, Concentrix employees were expected to appraise and evaluate two or three times as many claims as their HMRC equivalents. Some staff were asked to suspend claims even though Concentrix’s own records showed that they never contacted the claimant. This was the Tory austerity agenda at its most brutal – a private company being incentivised to deny the working poor crucial benefits.

HMRC have announced that they are hiring new staff and redeploying existing staff to clean up the initial fallout of ending this contract, which expires in May 2017. Many claimants and activists in the labour movement will be glad to see the back of Concentrix, but hundreds of jobs are now on the line. The labour movement needs to demand these jobs are brought ‘in-house’ into the HMRC in order to provide a living, secure wage for the staff, and a fit-for-purpose service for claimants.


Previous Article

NAMA Scandal: Stormont Again Mired in Corruption

Next Article

Apple tax scandal – a system rotten to its core

Related Posts
Read More

Boojum worker speaks out

A friend in hospitality argued that I’d be better off in McDonald's as they’d just won a pay-rise and it was due to the collective action taken by workers with the help and guidance of a union. I thought we at Boojum could take similar action and contacted the union. Since Unite and Boojum workers started our campaign, the number of active members has grown and we’re slowly gaining concessions. We used to feel powerless, but now we feel empowered
Read More

Harland & Wolff: The hidden history of workers’ struggle

The history of Northern Ireland is often present as simply being of two traditions - nationalism and unionism - in conflict with each other. Almost everything is painted as belonging to one or the other, including the shipyard. It is also true that most things do have a history tainted by sectarianism. But there is also another history, one which we see in the shipyards, across Belfast and across Northern Ireland - that is the labour tradition, where working-class people have stood together to fight in their common interests.