Fujitsu Staff Back At Work As Unite Calls Off Strike

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Fujitsu workers belonging to the Unite union have called off their planned protest at the Tory party conference

The Unite union has called off its ongoing series of strikes at Fujitsu after reaching a last minute agreement with the company.

“Fujitsu is pleased to have reached an agreement with Unite,” the company told eWEEK Europe in an emailed statement.

“Industrial action has now been suspended and Unite is encouraging individuals to go to work as normal,” it said. “Further discussions will produce a further offer for Unite to put to its members.”

Industrial Unrest

Fujitsu workers in Manchester downed tools last month in a series of strikes. The workers had been planning on striking this Tuesday and were due to demonstrate outside the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester.

“Unite has suspended industrial action at Fujitsu in Manchester after an agreement was reached during last minute discussions,” said the Unite union. It said the planned strike was now cancelled and that any further action has also been suspended.

This included the demonstration at the Tory party conference.

“Our members do not take strike action lightly,” said Kevin O’Gallagher, Unite national officer. “The agreement reached is good news for both our members and for Fujitsu.”

“Further talks are planned with the company,” he added. “We hope this will produce an improved offer, which we will put to our members.”

Strike Action

Last month the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union decided not to proceed with strike action against Fujitsu after agreeing a pay deal worth up to 11 percent.

The Unite dispute, on the other hand, concerns 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.

Union Rep

This last point concerns 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.”

Previous Unrest

Unite members in Crewe previously walked out on strike back in June over the treatment of Jenney.

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. And Unite threatened strike action back in August 2009 because of the pension changes.

The Unite union has also previously criticised Fujitsu UK for announcing plans to cut 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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