Unite and PCS unions have announced joint strike action over unfair pay for Fujitsu workers
More than 1,000 Fujitsu workers have voted to go on strike on Monday 19 September, following disputes over pay and a breakdown in industrial relations.
The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) and Unite unions announced joint strike action yesterday. While the two unions’ disputes are separate, they have agreed to take action together to put maximum pressure on Fujitsu.
PCS claims that pay rises of between 1.5 percent and 2.5 percent – despite workers meeting or exceeding their performance targets – are “an insult” to the lowest paid staff, many of whom earn just £13,500 a year.
“Such a pitiful pay offer to workers, who are paid less than what some senior executives pocket in bonuses alone, is an insult,” said PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka. “Our members may work for Fujitsu but they are supporting essential public services, so ministers must recognise they have a responsibility for what happens on behalf of their departments.”
If the strike action goes ahead, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), the Ministry of Defence and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) all stand to be affected. Fujitsu workers perform many of the back office IT functions for these organisations.
Breakdown in industrial relations
Meanwhile, Unite members in Manchester voted for strike action over a breakdown in industrial relations, breaches of agreements covering issues such as benefits and redundancy, and redeployment and victimisation of reps.
“Unite will not accept any situation where an employer can arbitrarily break negotiated agreements,” said Unite general secretary Len McCluskey. “This dispute can only be resolved through negotiations and coming to an agreement with the workforce. We remain available to talk at any time and urge management to get around the table so we can have a negotiated settlement.”
Unite members in Crewe are also contemplating joining the action, following their earlier strike back in June over the treatment of a colleague, who was allegedly singled out and put at risk of redundancy without being offered the chance to redeploy elsewhere.
Fujitsu has 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 threated strike action back in August 2009 because of the pension changes.
The 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.
Meanwhile, it emerged back in June that some HP workers, belonging to the PCS union, were considering strike action over plans to offshore their jobs. Apparently up to 200 jobs at HP were thought to be at risk at sites based in Newcastle, Lytham St Annes in Lancashire and Sheffield.