Union Condemns “Profitable” Fujitsu’s UK Job Cuts

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Unite says that the company is financially strong and doesn’t need to cut around 10 percent of its UK staff

Unions have criticised Fujitsu UK for announcing plans to cut around 1200 jobs in its services arm claiming that the moves are unnecessary given the company’s relatively healthy profits.

In a statement, the UK’s largest union Unite said that the cuts which represent around 10 percent of the UK workforce couldn’t be justified given that the company made profits of around £200m in the last 12 months. “Unite is pressing for detailed information about the reasons for this proposal and the areas affected. We will be doing everything possible to protect the jobs of the workforce,” said Peter Skyte, Unite national officer for IT and communications.

Fujitsu Services in the UK was once the leading UK computer manaufacturer, ICL, formed by Labour Technology Minister Tony Benn, in 1968 from companies whose roots included the historic Leo computing company. Owned by Fujitsu since 1990, it was renamed Fujitsu Services in 2002.

Earlier this week, Fujitsu announced that the cuts were prompted by “lower than anticipated revenues” and that the company wanted to remain competitive amid the current recession.

“Fujitsu has proposed this measure reluctantly,” the company said in a statement. “However action is necessary to ensure that the company remains competitive in the current difficult global economic climate and is in a solid position for future growth when the economy starts to recover.”

Fujitsu said that it has taken action to try and avoid job losses including a company wide pay freeze and cuts in the numbers of contractors and temporary workers.

At the beginning of August, Fujitsu was also criticised by Unite for announcing plans to change the pension conditions for some of its workers. Up to 2000 IT workers at Fujitsu Services said they could take the decision to strike over changes to the company’s pension scheme, union officials said.

A search of Fujitsu’s recruitment pages revealed that it currently has around 90 open positions in various roles in the UK operation.

Fujitsu said that the job cuts should be completed by 2009 and that all affected employees will be offered guidance and support. “A process of consultation with elected employee representatives is being established,” the company said.