The organizers of a campaign which helped save thousands of local tax office jobs have been commended in the House of Commons.
Battling union workers and the East Kilbride News worked tirelessly over a number of years to try and stop HMRC jobs being moved from the town.
And their efforts were finally successful this year, when it was announced East Kilbride’s tax office would not close, saving more than 2000 local jobs.
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In Parliament this week, the town’s MP, Dr Lisa Cameron, presented PCS Branch Presidents’ Scott Clark and John Davidson, and EK News reporter Andrea Lambrou, with an Early Day Motion acknowledging their campaign efforts.
The campaign was supported by thousands of members of the public and debated repeatedly within the House of Commons.
HMRC were also hailed for their decision to support the 2500-strong workforce remaining in East Kilbride, with locals across the constituency praised ‘for their successful grassroots activism in retaining this key service industry and highly skilled jobs within East Kilbride’.
PCS branch president, John Davidson, told Lanarkshire Live: “On behalf of PCS, it was an honor to be presented with a copy of Dr Cameron’s excellent parliamentary motion.
“It’s vital that the work of the union and our supporters continues to be recognised.
“We pay tribute to Dr Cameron, Linda Fabiani and all of the local politicians who have backed us over the years.
“We also thank the EK News for its unprecedented, sustained coverage of ‘ Stay in EK’ in print and online which was vital in keeping the future of the office on the agenda.
“We thank the people of East Kilbride, our hard-working union members and representatives who never gave up hope.
“This is not the end of the campaign and we have already had a positive dialogue with Dr Cameron about how we might influence HMRC’s decision on whether to retain the current office or set up a new one in the town.
“Our members and the community deserve a world-class premises with excellent transport links that can help attract and retain a highly-skilled workforce for future generations, ensuring the very best service to the taxpayer.”
The EK News helped officially launch the ‘Stay in EK’ campaign back in 2017 as we joined the fight to halt UK Government plans to close Plaza Tower and Center 1 (Queensway House), saving 2500 local jobs.
In letters sent to the News, anxious employees outlined their concerns surrounding HMRC’s proposed move to Glasgow.
They said they feared for their families and the future of East Kilbride if HMRC left the town.
The News continued to champion the campaign for five years, using the ‘Stay in EK’ logo in its masthead and running regular features during that time.
And that saw the people of East Kilbride pledge their support in their thousands, with a petition of support gaining more than 10,000 signatures.
South Lanarkshire Council leader John Ross and MPs and MSPs from right across the political spectrum threw their weight behind the campaign.
At the time, Dr Cameron said it was “absolutely critical” that we keep “our” HMRC in East Kilbride, adding: “It’s integral to the community, to the economy, jobs and livelihood” and praised the News for its support.
Commenting on the motion, Dr Cameron said: “I am delighted to present PCS Union and Andrea Lambrou from the EK News with a framed Early Day Motion from the House of Commons commending the success of the Stay in EK campaign.
“Most constituents across East Kilbride have a family or personal connection to HMRC, just as I do as my grandmother worked there after our family moved to EK as a New Town.
“It was vital that this campaign was a success to keep these skilled jobs and our tax industry in EK for the future and I am glad to have played a part campaign and now to commend the work of others involved who have made such a difference. “
East Kilbride News editor Robert Mitchell said: “We are honored to have been recognized for our efforts in campaigning to keep thousands of vital local HMRC jobs in East Kilbride.
“The Stay in EK campaign was a huge success, well done to the PCS Union for all of their hard work.”
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