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Unite to hold Fujitsu strike ballot

Employees will vote next week on whether to start strike action over pension changes at the IT services company, which announced redundancies at the end of August
Written by Carly Newman, Contributor

Staff at Fujitsu Services are poised to vote on whether to take industrial action against the company's proposed pension cuts.

The ballot will begin on Monday, and the results are expected to be known after 30 October, Unite announced on Wednesday. The union, the largest in the UK, represents over 1,500 workers at the firm, whose total pay packages could be reduced by around 20 percent as a result of the pension-scheme changes, it said.

Unite said Fujitsu plans to push through the changes by dismissing employees who are subscribed to the pension plan by the end of October, and then offering them new contracts that do not include the pension scheme. Around 4,000 employees could be affected by the changes, according to the union.

Fujitsu spokesman Graham Goulden said the action was at too premature a stage for the company to comment. He did say that in the event of a strike, Fujitsu would take measures to minimise the impact on its services.

A consultative ballot on proposals to close the company's final pension scheme and impose a company-wide pay freeze ended on 26 August. That result was in favour of industrial action, with 87 percent of members voting to strike.

On 26 August, Fujitsu Services announced it planned to make 1,200 of its British workforce redundant by the end of 2009, saying the layoffs were prompted by a difficult economic environment. The multinational IT services and systems provider employs about 12,500 people in sites around the UK, including Bracknell, Newcastle and London.

The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) also represents workers at Fujitsu Services.

Peter Skyte, Unite national officer, said in a statement on Wednesday: "Fujitsu remains a highly profitable company and our members are insisting that the company must treat them fairly and increase pay, provide decent pensions, and consult meaningfully to minimise job losses and avoid compulsory redundancy."

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