Socialist Worker

Key strike ballot at Fujitsu

by Matthew Cookson
Issue No. 2173

The Fujitsu Services IT company has launched a major attack on jobs, pay and pensions – but workers are fighting back.

Members of the Unite and PCS unions at the company began a ballot for industrial action this week.

Workers have already voted overwhelmingly for action in a consultative ballot against proposals to close the final salary pension scheme and impose a pay freeze.

Fujitsu has also announced plans to sack 1,200 workers, out of a workforce of 12,500.

It has also put 6,000 people at the risk of redundancy.

The company wants to push through attacks on pensions by dismissing around 4,000 employees at the end of the consultation period this month and then offering them new contracts, which will be unchanged except in relation to pension provisions.

Workers’ anger at the attacks has been increased by the fact that Fujitsu made £177 million in profits last year and its parent company paid out £150 million to shareholders.

More than 2,000 union members are to be balloted at a number of sites across the country.

Ian Allinson, the chair of the Unite Fujitsu UK combine committee, told Socialist Worker, “There has been a huge rise in union membership since we began this campaign.

“Over a third of Unite members have joined the union this year and the PCS also reports a big increase.

“The attacks on pensions are roughly equivalent to a 20 percent pay cut for staff. This is devastating for people’s life plans. It comes from a company making profits, so it’s not like it’s facing an emergency.

“Even if it was, the problems would not be of the workers’ making and so we should not have to suffer. This is all about greed—the company’s wish to retain boom-time profits during a recession. Fujitsu was the first major company in a number of years to announce that it was to close its final salary pension scheme to existing workers.

“A number of others have followed suit. It would be a real turnaround if we managed to stop this happening here.

“We are confident that we will get a yes vote. People are joining the union every day. It is part of the acceleration of unionisation in the IT industry.

“IT was previously seen as an elite industry where workers didn’t necessarily join unions, but it has gradually changed as companies have begun to treat staff worse.”

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Article information

Tue 13 Oct 2009, 18:11 BST
Issue No. 2173
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