Fujitsu workers fight “gagging” of union reps

05 October 2017

Workers at the company are protesting against job and pay cuts.

Workers at the company are protesting against job and pay cuts.

Fujitsu may face more industrial action as members of Unite, the country’s largest union, prepare to hold a ballot for further industrial action in their long-running dispute.

Earlier this year in March, union members working for the IT ginat went on strike for the fourth time over plans to cut jobs and pensions. 

Accusing the firm of “keeping workers in the dark”, Unite called on Fujitsu to share its business case for axing and offshoring 1,800 jobs. Other elements of the dispute include what the union claims is a retrospective cut to pensions for over-60s, pay inequality, and what’s alleged to be Fujitsu’s refusal to become an accredited Living Wage employ

Unite regional officer Louisa Bull said: “Having announced 1,800 UK job cuts last year, Fujitsu terminated the UK information and consultation forum Fujitsu Voice, leaving most of their workforce without a collective voice and collective representation at such a crucial time in their working lives.

“Unite members across Fujitsu had been taking industrial action to restore their voice, protect jobs and extend their collective bargaining agreements across the UK.”

Bull added that in an attempt to settle the dispute, action was suspended and an offer put to the members. 

“Unfortunately, the company offer proposed to worsen existing rights for reps and members,” she said. “Industrial relations at Fujitsu are poor and the management’s attitude is dismissive. As a consequence, we are preparing for a fresh industrial action ballot.”

It’s claimed union members have overwhelmingly rejected the company’s latest proposals by 92 per cent. Unite says members saw the proposals as an attack on union organisation, restricting reps’ ability to communicate with staff.

It has also launched an online petition opposing what it calls the victimisation of Unite reps.

The workers affected are based at sites including Basingstoke, Belfast, Birmingham, Bracknell, Crewe, Derry, Edinburgh, London, Manchester, Stevenage, Wakefield and Warrington.

Unite assistant general secretary Tony Burke has written to Tatsuya Tanaka, president of Fujitsu Ltd., seeking his intervention on this matter.

Earlier this year, members handed  in a letter to the Japanese ambassador Koji Tsuruoka in London criticising what they described as the “shameful way” that the UK management has behaved over the proposed job losses and calling for the envoy to raise this at the highest levels, both in the UK and Japan.

According to Unite,Fujitsu is highly profitable in the UK and one director saw a pay package rise of 13 per cent to £1,635,000 last year.

When asked for its views, Fujitsu told Networking+ that it has “no comment” to make.