Socialist Worker

Great spirit on the Fujitsu picket lines in Manchester

Issue No. 2034

Fujitsu managers were rattled by the determination of their Manchester staff to stand up for their rights last week.

On Wednesday of last week over 40 staff protested outside a disciplinary hearing for the senior Amicus rep, Ian Allinson.

As Socialist Worker goes to press the outcome is not confirmed, but management had adjourned the meeting.

A two-day strike began the next day over union rights, redundancies, redeployment and pay. A good number of staff defied storms to join picket lines.

They were then joined by supporters for a rally, which was addressed by Amicus deputy general secretary Graham Goddard, Geoff Brown of Manchester TUC, and Karen Reissmann of the local Unison health branch which is balloting for strikes against cuts.

The mood was positive and determined. After the rally, a members’ meeting discussed further plans for the two-day strike, as well as ideas for further action if the company didn’t give in.

Later in the day, strikers protested outside Marks & Spencer in Manchester city centre. M&S is one of Fujitsu’s customers.

On Friday morning, as well as picketing in Manchester, teams of strikers leafleted Fujitsu sites in Bristol, London, Stevenage, Solihull and Crewe, before touring local workplaces to raise support.

Strikers distributed a joint leaflet with the PCS union at civil service offices in Manchester and Blackburn – Fujitsu is the biggest supplier of IT services to central government.

Two groups of strikers toured workplaces in Manchester, raising support.

The strikers are targeting other Fujitsu sites because few have union recognition yet, and they are getting a very positive response.

They believe the company is targeting Amicus in Manchester to try to stop the spread of union organisation.

Such a strong response has only been possible because of an impressive level of involvement from members, including many who have never taken an active part before.

The company was forced to send a notice out to all 14,000 British staff in response to the leafleting, raising the profile of the dispute even further.

Fujitsu generally tries to pretend the union doesn’t exist outside Manchester, so this is a significant step.

A members’ meeting this week was set to decide on further action, making donations and collections extremely important.

Donations payable to Manchester IT Workers Group can be sent to John Wood, 301 Bolton Road, Bury BL8 2NZ. Updates, leaflets and more information can be found on the Amicus Fujitsu website.


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Sat 20 Jan 2007, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 2034
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