Crunch talks are being held next week in a bid to resolve the long-running dispute on pay, pensions and job security at Fujitsu in Manchester.
Up to 300 workers, members of Unite, the country’s largest union, are continuing to take strike action today (Friday 13 January).
But in a goodwill gesture, Unite is suspending the strike action scheduled for Thursday (19 January) to facilitate talks with the company under the auspices of the conciliation service, Acas.
Unite is increasingly concerned about job security, following the company’s proposals to start making employees redundant from 16 February, with minimal redundancy payments on the assumption that off-shore resources can be hired and skills transferred very quickly.
The union said that further job losses through redundancy and TUPE - Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulations - are planned from then on.
The background to the dispute was last year’s announcement that Fujitsu wants to cut 1,800 UK jobs - over 18 per cent of its UK workforce. The company is also ending the works council Fujitsu Voice tomorrow (Saturday 14 January).
Unite regional officer Sharon Hutchinson said: “We have suspended Thursday’s strike action in Manchester as a gesture of goodwill for the Acas talks to take place in a constructive environment.
“Today is the 11th strike day in this dispute which demonstrates the high level of resolve of our members.
“Fujitsu is a very profitable company - £85.6 million in the last financial year - and our members will fight for justice on pay, pensions and job security.
“The strike action continues to have a significant impact on service delivery for customers and project timescales, which should give the management added impetus to seek a fair settlement.”
The Manchester workers started a 48 hour stoppage at 00.01 yesterday (Thursday). A further 24 hour strike is due to start on 00.01 on Monday (16 January), with another day’s strike on Friday (20 January).
The strike also highlights the 16 per cent gender pay gap that Unite has identified from limited data provided by Fujitsu, which means that women staff are paid an estimated £5,500-a-year less than their male counterparts. There is also a retrospective cut in pensions of up to 15 per cent for many staff who are over 60.
The company’s major sites include Belfast, Bracknell, Crewe, Londonderry/Derry, London, Manchester, Solihull, Stevenage, Wakefield and Warrington.
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: firstname.lastname@example.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.