A three-day strike at Fujitsu Services was called off last week after the IT company agreed to extend consultations with the unions over pensions and redundancies. But workers remain committed to taking action to defend their conditions.
Fujitsu wanted to drive through the closure of its main final salary pension scheme and cut over 1,000 jobs.
In response, around 1,600 members of the Unite union had been geared up to strike on Thursday and Friday of last week, and Monday of this week over the issues.
Consultation over pensions was due to end on Monday of this week, and those over redundancies on 11 December. But under pressure from the strike threat the company agreed to extend both consultations until 31 January.
While the company will still send out compulsory redundancy notices on 11 December, no one can have their contract terminated until the consultations are concluded.
The date by which the union must take action under the anti-union laws has been extended until 23 December.
The fact that the company moved under pressure from the union has boosted workers’ confidence and shown that the threat of action can work. Union reps report that more people have joined the union as a result of last week’s announcement.
It is essential that union activists use the next few weeks to build up the campaign. Despite its concessions, the company remains intent on driving through attacks on workers.
The PCS civil service workers’ union, which in return for talks decided not to call action, has also had the time in which it can take action extended.
Many sites across the country, which had never struck before, organised magnificently in preparation for the action.
Workers cannot allow this momentum to slip while talks take place.
Action will need to take place in December to activate the ballot and put pressure on management.
Fujitsu makes a large part of its revenue in the first three months of the year so any action that takes place in that time will have a massive effect.
The strength of the unions has been increased by the current campaign over jobs, pensions and pay. They will need to use that power to force management back.
The battle at Fujitsu is crucial. Many other companies in the IT sector have also launched attacks on their final salary pension schemes.
If Fujitsu is knocked back it will be a major blow to bosses everywhere.