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Fujitsu staff accept deal on pay and pensions

The vote by Unite members ends months of industrial action, including strikes, at the IT services provider
Written by Matthew Broersma, Contributor

Striking Fujitsu staff have voted to accept a deal on pay, pensions and redundancies proposed by Acas, the government's Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service , bringing their dispute to an end.

The Acas proposals were accepted by a four-to-one majority vote with a 72 percent turnout, according to the Fujitsu workers' union, Unite.

Workers had previously voted for 12 days of strike action at the IT services provider, to protest against the closing of contributions to the company's final salary pension scheme, a proposed pay freeze and plans to make up to 10 percent of the company's UK workforce redundant. All further industrial action has now been called off, Unite said.

The union said it had advised workers to accept the deal and noted that talks with the company had resulted in progress.

"Whilst the Acas-brokered proposals do not fully satisfy our members' aspirations, there have been significant changes in the company's position on jobs, pay and pensions over the course of the dispute," Peter Skyte, Unite's national officer for the IT sector, said in a statement.

Fujitsu said it was "very pleased" with the outcome. "This means that all industrial action is now called off, which is good news for all concerned," it said in a statement.

The dispute began in August, when Fujitsu announced plans for up to 1,200 layoffs in the UK. Fujitsu also imposed a pay freeze and said it would close the main final salary pension scheme to future accrual, according to Unite.

A total of 586 staff have now accepted voluntary redundancy, while another 225 have accepted compulsory redundancy, according to Fujitsu. A further 23 had been planned for compulsory redundancy, but under the Acas deal their employment will be extended until at least 26 March, according to Unite.

Workers will be offered a five percent increase in pay as compensation for the change to a defined contribution pension scheme. They will also get an extra year's continuation of the final salary pension scheme until March 2011 at the earliest.

Under the deal, Fujitsu has agreed that the defined contribution pension scheme will be contractual for both new and existing members.

Fujitsu has agreed to discuss more open pay and benefit scales as part of transparency talks with Unite, the union said. The company has agreed to the introduction of a minimum salary of £12,000 from 1 March, with an annual review of basic salary levels starting on 1 April, according to Unite.

Fujitsu has recognised Unite's goal of raising the minimum salary to £13,500 a year, the union said.

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