Fujitsu strike will hit DVLA, HMRC and MoD

Fujitsu workers across the country have voted in favour of a 24-hour strike that could hit the processing of tax credits, production of drivers' licences and back office IT for a range of government bodies

Tax credits will not be processed and driving licences not produced if a planned strike by over a thousand Fujitsu workers goes ahead on 19 September.

PCS Union flag

A strike by PCS and Unite union members at Fujitsu is likely to affect work at HMRC and the MoD. Photo credit: staticgirl/Flickr

The action in Manchester and across the UK comes from worker dissatisfaction with Fujitsu and its treatment of union representatives, and was announced by Unite and the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) unions on Thursday. 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 if the action takes place.

PCS's Fujitsu workers produce driving licences for the DVLA; process tax credits and calculate tax liabilities for HMRC; and perform back office IT functions for the MoD and ONS, a PCS spokesman told ZDNet UK.

After being balloted over strike action, 65 percent of PCS's 720 members working on government contracts for Fujitsu across the UK voted to strike. Eighty-five percent of Fujitsu's 307 Unite members in Manchester voted to do the same. The strike is due to take place for 24 hours from midnight on 19 September.

Fujitsu workers were offered pay rises of between 1.5 and 2.5 percent, the unions said in a statement. Many of the employees were on salaries of £13,500 a year or less, they added.

"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," Mark Serwotka, the PCS's general secretary, said on Thursday. "Such a pitiful pay offer to workers, who are paid less than what some senior executives pocket in bonuses alone, is an insult."

Unite members in Manchester also work on government contracts, but Unite could not be reached to clarify which ones.

"The Manchester strike is to do with a breakdown of industrial relations," a spokesman for Unite told ZDNet UK on Wednesday.

Crewe strike

The nationwide action follows the example of Fujitsu workers in Crewe who went on strike in June over the treatment of union activist and Fujitsu employee Alan Jenney, who faces redundancy. Since the strike the workers have continued to mount a campaign of industrial action, including a refusal to work overtime.

Unite members in Crewe were meeting on Thursday to decide whether they would take part in the strike as well, Unite and the PCS said in a statement.

"Although the disputes are separate, the unions have agreed to take action together to put maximum pressure on the company to resolve the issues," the unions said.

HMRC spent £7.2m on an outsourcing deal with Fujitsu in the 2009-2010 financial year.

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