Fujitsu workers to strike this week

After last-minute talks break down, IT workers at Fujitsu Services will resume a delayed strike on Thursday
Written by Colin Barker, Contributor

A strike at Fujitsu Services's offices in Central Park, Manchester, will resume on Thursday after last-minute talks between union representatives and the company on Tuesday night failed to result in an agreement.

The strike, which involves Fujitsu employees who work on a number of outsourced contracts, began in late November but was suspended in December to allow intervention by the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS). Those talks broke down on Friday, and the two sides then met on the following Tuesday to try and finally resolve the issue, but talks broke down again.

The dispute affects some 300 employees at the facility who belong to the Amicus trade union and work on contracts for companies such as Marks and Spencer and H&M and for various government departments, including the Home Office.

The union is angry because they say workers were denied the benefits of union recognition and representation, and the right to a 90-day consultation before redundancy. They also say that redundancy payment terms were cut. It's unclear what impact the strike will have on Fujitsu's customer base.

Amicus claimed that it had been willing to accept the binding arbitration of ACAS, but that "Fujitsu chose to walk away from the talks after rejecting ACAS' proposals".  In addition, "action short of a strike involving withdrawal of goodwill commenced on Monday 20 November and is still ongoing", said the union.

According to Amicus' regional official, Terry Thompson, the Amicus members at the site "are angry that the company has done nothing to help resolve the situation". The union members "had no choice but to return to strike action to defend their redundancy rights, union recognition and fight for better pay", Thompson said.

Thompson was speaking on behalf of Ian Allinson, the union's representative at the plant who is a Fujitsu employee. He is facing disciplinary action by the company over his involvement with the union.

A Fujitsu spokeswoman said the company did not comment on industrial action.

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