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Fujitsu Services Facing Potential Strike

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Workers are not happy with proposed changes to their pensions while union officials argue the company is not suffering enough financially to justify the moves

Up to 2000 IT workers at Fujitsu Services could take the decision to strike over changes to the company’s pension scheme, according to union officials.

In a statement released this week, Unite, which claims to be the largest union in the UK, said it plans to conduct a “consultative ballot” on possible industrial action of its members in Fujitsu.

The union, which was formed from the merger of Amicus and the Transport and General Workers Union, claims that around 4000 employees could be hit by changes to the Japanese company’s pension plan. According to Unite, the changes to the pension scheme could reduce the total package received by employees by up to 15 percent.

“If the proposal goes ahead, the company intends dismiss employees after the end of the consultation period in September, and offer them employment on new contracts which are unchanged except in relation to pensions,” said Unite in a statement.

Unite is particularly opposed to the move because it claims that Fujitsu, which empoyees around 12,000 in the UK, is still a profitable company despite the downturn citing recent annual results showing a 12.5 per cent increase in revenue to £2.8bn and a £199.2m profit before taxation. “Fujitsu Services is a highly profitable and successful company which is seeking to take advantage of the recession to attack pay, pensions and conditions,” said Peter Skyte, Unite national officer for IT and communications.

But despite the vehement claims, Skyte admitted that Fujitsu was listening to union demands. “The company is indicating a willingness to constructively consider alternative pension options identified by representatives. We are insisting that the company should increase pay and provide decent pensions for all its employees,” he said.

Skyte added that Unite’s role was to defend the interests of its members. “Our position is to protect the defined benefit pension scheme. Any changes which reduce financial risk to the company at the expense of members should be compensated for accordingly,” he said.

For its part, Fujitsu claims on the ‘Benefits and Rewards’ section of its jobs site that: “People are our biggest asset. Our employee reward and benefits package has been developed to reflect this and to ensure that everyone shares in the success of Fujitsu Services.”

The company states that it offers perks and compensation including, “Competitive base salary, a company wide incentive plan based upon individual and/or company performance, up to 10 percent company pension contribution and permanent Health Insurance (dependent upon role).”

A search of the companies recruitment pages revealed that it currently has around 86 open positions in various roles in the UK.

The recession has seen numerous  IT companies opting to shed employees  while employers in other sectors such as BA have asked staff to work for free.