An historic national strike in the IT industry is set to begin this Thursday as workers at Fujitsu walk out for three days.
More than 1,500 members of the Unite union are to strike on Thursday and Friday of this week and Monday of next week in their fight over jobs, pay and pensions.
This is a crucial fight for every worker facing attacks. We cannot allow a company like Fujitsu, which is highly profitable, to get away with it.
In March, Fujitsu cancelled pay rises shortly before they were due to take effect.
In May it announced its intention to close the main final salary pension scheme to current members. This would be the equivalent of a 20 percent pay cut for the 4,000 workers affected.
And in September it put 6,000 staff at risk of redundancy, with a proposal to cut 1,200 jobs.
The Unite and PCS unions have been mounting a joint campaign over the issues. Union membership has soared—over a third of Unite’s 1,600 members at Fujitsu have joined the union this year, and people are still signing up to support the strike.
The company is taking an aggressive stance. It has rejected pension proposals from union representatives and has notified hundreds of staff that they are provisionally selected for redundancy.
But there are signs that the company is worried about the potential action.
Fujitsu recently said it would delay the closure of the pension scheme by a year, which is a step forward but not enough. It is also trying to undermine the campaign by encouraging divisions between Unite and the PCS.
Fujitsu has offered separate talks with the PCS, which has accepted the offer and, so far, not called any industrial action—despite members voting overwhelmingly to strike.
Unite is concerned that the company is trying to waste time. It plans to make staff redundant on 11 December and end pension consultation. PCS says it will call action if talks don’t make rapid progress.
Members of both unions should avoid falling for timewasting and “divide and rule” tactics.
The best chance for Fujitsu staff to get a good result is to make Unite’s industrial action as effective as possible.
There are over 100 sites across the country involved in the dispute, with pickets expected at many.
Email messages of support to firstname.lastname@example.org
A leaflet and collection sheet is at » www.ourunion.org.uk