WORKERS at IT services company Fujitsu Services, West Gorton, Manchester, took strike action on Monday following the unanimous rejection of management's latest offer at a members' meeting on Thursday. The mood of the strikers was very positive. Many had been angered by provocative e-mails from senior management in the days leading up to the strike. The scare tactics backfired badly.
Picketing began early in the morning, and was successful in turning away a number of staff, visitors and delivery vehicles. The company had claimed that only 10 percent of the workforce supported the strike, but the car park was mostly empty. It was clear that far more staff took part in the strike than there are members of the Amicus union on site. Following a rally outside the main gates around 60 strikers marched to a lively meeting discussing the next steps in the dispute.
Almost none of the workers involved had been on strike before, and many commented on the excellent mix of members involved. The company has tried to divide helpdesk (call centre) staff from the rest, but the strike united all sections of the workforce. Many members volunteered to picket for the rest of the day. Workers will now be taking action short of strikes, and plan further strikes in the coming weeks, unless the company make an acceptable offer.
The dispute is about management attacks on union recognition and redundancy agreements and a pay claim. Call centre staff have already won sick pay and five extra holiday days. This benefited some 1,000 people in the national company. But the company has not made new offers on union recognition and pay.