Workers on outsourced IT contracts at Fujitsu Services in Manchester walked out on Monday to begin a five-day strike as part of their long running campaign over redundancy rights, better pay and union recognition.
During the strikes so far strikers have toured the country leafleting other Fujitsu sites to build the union.
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.
In December, after a two day strike, Amicus suspended industrial action for talks at Acas, the government arbitration service. Those talks broke down when, according to the union, management walked out of the discussions. Ian Allinson, senior Amicus representative at Fujitsu, is facing suspension as a result of his involvement in the continuing action.
According to Ian, 'We had a disciplinary meeting on 10 January and then they did not pursue it. Now they say they want to hold another meeting with me on Friday.'
Ian adds that Fujitsu does a lot of outsourcing work for the health service, 'There is a lot of support for us from our nursing colleagues and others in the NHS.' The timing suggests that this has nothing to do with Ian's conduct, but everything to do with the dispute.
It appears that the company felt unable to concede that Ian had no case to answer in present circumstances.
Instead, they want to keep the threat of disciplinary action hanging there depending on the effectiveness of the strike.
Amicus' deputy general secretary Graham Goddard said, 'We are dismayed that management have refused to hold meaningful talks to settle the dispute.'
Meanwhile, Amicus has highlighted that the company's refusal of any time at all for the union learning rep to carry out her duties is a breach of the law. Amicus set the company a deadline of the first strike day to reverse their decision or face legal action.
Fujitsu workers were due to join a joint rally with striking civil service workers and health workers in Manchester on Wednesday.