Fujitsu Agrees Union Deal To End Strikes

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The bitter and long industrial dispute between Fujitsu and Unite has ended after the two sides agreed a deal

The prospect of ongoing industrial action at Japanese computing giant Fujitsu has ended after the company reached an agreement with the Unite trade union.

The agreement was reached after Unite members accepted a revised offer from Fujitsu.

Agreement Details

The agreement will see a small additional pay increase for most Manchester-based staff, and well as more protection for the pensions of the 11,000 staff in the UK, after Fujitsu agreed it would not be able to change the pension terms without first changing staff contracts.

The deal also agreed that there would be no recrimination or detriment to those staff who  participated in industrial action or campaigning.

The agreement was welcomed by the Unite trade union, which should end the industrial action which has plagued Fujitsu sites in Crewe and Manchester since June last year.

“The agreement reflects a significant improvement in relationships with the company since last year. It means better protection for pensions for Fujitsu employees across the UK and pay rises for most Manchester staff,” said Kevin O’Gallagher, Unite national officer for IT and communications. “There is a renewed commitment to work together through our agreements which can help avoid conflict in future.”

“A significant number of new Unite representatives have recently been elected and the agreement should mean reps across the UK are, for the first time, allowed work time to deal with many issues affecting employees,” he added. “Unite is looking forward to developing the positive relationship with Fujitsu in the future.”

Agreement Breaches?

Fujitsu’s response to the agreement was brief and positive: “Fujitsu welcomes the deal that has been reached with the Unite trade union that has ended the industrial action.”

The dispute with Unite had concerned a breakdown in industrial relations, as well as alleged breaches of agreements covering issues such as benefits and redundancy, and redeployment and victimisation of union representatives.

That last point was mostly to do with union rep Alan Jenney who was made redundant and reportedly not offered the chance of redeployment elsewhere. Unite said that Jenney had been singled out, because the company had helped others hit by job losses “by supporting staff through redeployment.”

The union said that Fujitsu had “seriously breached negotiated processes and agreements.”

Industrial Unrest

Fujitsu has something of a track record for inciting the wrath of the unions.

In January 2010, workers at the company went on strike over pay freezes, job cuts and the closure of a pension scheme. This was after Unite threatened strike action back in August 2009 because of the pension changes.

The Unite union has also previously criticised Fujitsu UK for cutting around 1,200 jobs in its services arm, claiming that the moves were unnecessary given the company’s relatively healthy profits.

Fujitsu provides back-end services for HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), the Ministry of Defence and the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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