Staff working on outsourced IT contracts at Fujitsu Services walked out on Monday to begin a five-day strike over redundancy rights, better pay and union recognition. The strike follows an earlier two-day walk-out.
A spokeswoman for trade union Amicus said that all its members at the Fujitsu Services facility in Manchester had walked out, and that the union was now seeking support from other Fujitsu Services' sites in Sheffield, Crewe, South Wales and Thames Valley. The Manchester offices handle outsourced work for several large organisations, including Marks & Spencer and the Home Office.
The union claims it has been trying to settle the strike. In December it suspended industrial action while Acas (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) was brought in to help. Those talks broke down when, according to the union, management walked out of the discussions.
There are 300 Amicus members working for Fujitsu Services in Manchester, out of a total workforce of 1,000 mostly non-union workers, according to Ian Allinson, senior representative for Amicus at Fujitsu. According to Amicus, it has a total of 850 members in Manchester. Fujitsu Services has 12,000 employees in the UK. The Manchester site is one of the few Fujitsu Services sites that recognise unions, a practice that goes back to the days when it was part of ICL.
Allinson is facing suspension from Fujitsu as a result of his involvement in the continuing action. "We had a disciplinary meeting [on 10 January] and then they did not pursue it. Now they say they want to hold another meeting with me on Friday," Allinson said.
"There is a lot of support for us from our nursing colleagues and others in the NHS," said Allinson.
Amicus' deputy general secretary, Graham Goddard, said in a statement on Friday: "We are dismayed and saddened that management have refused to hold meaningful talks to settle the dispute. We hope the five-day strike will send a message to Fujitsu that they need to return to negotiations to bring the dispute to an end."
A spokesman for Fujitsu Services told ZDNet UK: "It is the policy of the company not to comment on industrial action."