Up to 300 workers at IT giant Fujitsu in Manchester will be staging a further two days of strike action next week in the continuing dispute over pay, pensions and job security.
The workers, members of Unite, the country’s largest union, claim that the company has been cutting pay rates for years, despite very healthy profits and very large increases in senior management pay.
The next round of strike action - a 48-hour stoppage - starts at 00:01 on Monday 7 November. This follows a 24-hour strike last Tuesday (1 November) which was timed to coincide with the launch of the new ‘living wage’, highlighting Fujitsu’s refusal to become an accredited ‘living wage’ employer.
The union said that Fujitsu is also failing to address a significant gender pay gap.
Fujitsu - Responsible Business of the Year 2015 and sponsors of the Responsible Business Gala - has also benefited from a significant retrospective cut in pensions accrued by its older workers, while at the same time paying an effective tax rate of 0 per cent.
The industrial action comes after the announcement that Fujitsu plans to axe 1,800 jobs – over 18 per cent of its UK workforce. The company’s major sites include Belfast, Bracknell, Crewe, Londonderry/Derry, London, Manchester, Solihull, Stevenage, Wakefield and Warrington.
Unite has calculated that female staff are on average paid 16 per cent less than their male colleagues – about £5,500-a-year. The latest strike comes just before the Fawcett Society’s Equal Pay Day (10 November) which highlights the UK’s gender pay gap.
Members are also fighting for a pay deal; over the company’s response to retrospective cuts in pensions for older staff; and for job security.
Fujitsu staff across the UK are worried about the job cuts and are angry that the company has announced the termination of their works council which will reduce their voice at this crucial time.
The strikes are accompanied by a continuous work to rule, withdrawal of goodwill and ban on overtime which started on Monday (31 October).
Unite regional officer Sharon Hutchinson said: “Fujitsu is a highly profitable and successful company – its main UK subsidiary made £85.6m profit last year and continues to be highly profitable.
“Tuesday’s strike was very successful and customer service was severely impacted. Our members will strike again for 48-hours from Tuesday in a bid to get the management to engage in a constructive dialogue on the issues that cause serious concern.
“Our members have demonstrated the seriousness of their intent and more industrial action is on the cards, if the company continues to treat them with disdain.”
Notes to editors:
Fujitsu employs about 10,000 people in the UK delivering IT services to government and major companies.
When Fujitsu implemented the statutory national ‘living wage’, it cut the performance bonuses of staff employed through Fujitsu Services (Engineering Services) Limited, such that their take home pay dropped, a practice that was described as ‘immoral’ by Nick Boles, the then minister responsible for overseeing the national ‘living wage’.
For more information please contact the Unite press office on 020 3371 2065 or Unite head of media and campaigns on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869.
Pictures of strike day activities will be available from Facebook and Twitter
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.