Fujitsu Services has agreed to reopen arbitration talks in an effort to solve a long-running industrial dispute with outsourcing staff at its Manchester plant. But employees remain sceptical about the company's intentions after it walked out of previous negotiations.
Fujitsu Services reopened talks with Acas on Monday. But on Monday morning, the union helping to organise the action, Amicus, said that the staff were prepared to hold one-day strikes on 28 February and 7 March and a five-day strike starting on 12 March.
The Manchester offices handle outsourcing contracts with Marks & Spencer and the Home Office, among others. Staff at the plant have previously held a number of one-day actions and a five-day strike in January.
The dispute revolves around redundancy rights, better pay and union recognition. In addition the staff are unhappy at the way the union representative at Fujitsu Services, Ian Allinson, has been treated. Allinson was suspended from Fujitsu Services late last year for alleged infringements of company rules.
According to a spokesman for the union, the company was due to have a meeting with Allinson over his suspension on Monday.
The majority of staff at the Fujitsu Services plant in Manchester are not members of Amicus, which represents around 300 members out of a total workforce of 1,000. 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.