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Manchester Fujitsu workers to strike for job security,...

Manchester Fujitsu workers to strike for job security, pay and pensions

27 October 2016

Up to 300 workers at IT giant Fujitsu in Manchester will be staging three days of strike action starting next week in a 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 union said that Fujitsu is failing to address a significant gender pay gap and refusing to become a ‘living wage’ accredited employer.

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 recent announcement that Fujitsu’s 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.

The discontinuous strike action starts with a 24-hour stoppage commencing at 00:01 on Tuesday 1 November – this is timed to coincide with the launch of the new ‘living wage’ which highlights Fujitsu’s refusal to become an accredited ‘living wage’ employer.

The action will be followed by a 48-hour stoppage starting at 00:01 on Monday 7 November.

This is scheduled to mark when women working for Fujitsu would be, on average, working for free, if they were paid the same hourly rate as their male colleagues.

Unite has calculated that female staff are on average paid 16 per cent less than their male colleagues. It 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 will be accompanied by a continuous work to rule, withdrawal of goodwill and ban on overtime from 00:01 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.
 
“It is taking advantage of its loyal workforce by attacking their pay, pensions and jobs. They deserve to be treated better than this.

“The Fujitsu management needs to enter into a constructive dialogue on the issues that cause our members serious concern – otherwise more industrial action is on the cards.

“We expect that the action already announced will hit customer service quite severely.”

ENDS
 
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 Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Email: shaun.noble@unitetheunion.org

Pictures of strike day activities will be available from Facebook (www.facebook.com/UniteAtFujitsu)  and Twitter (@UniteFujitsu) 

  • 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.