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Unanimous vote to end dispute at Fujitsu

Issue No. 2287

Unite union members at the Manchester site of IT giant Fujitsu have unanimously voted to accept an offer to settle their long-running dispute.

The dispute was over a breakdown in industrial relations, breaches of agreements and victimisation of reps.

The dispute began in Crewe over the dismissal of union rep Alan Jenney in what Unite called an unfair and unnecessary redundancy.

Fujitsu Crewe struck on 30 June last year alongside public sector workers. Fujitsu Manchester later balloted and struck on 19 September.

The turning point came in October, when Fujitsu offered enough for Unite to suspend a planned strike.

In November a statement was issued saying, “The parties have successfully resolved the position of Mr Jenney through the services of Acas to both parties’ satisfaction.”

Kevin O’Gallagher, Unite national officer for IT and communications, said the latest deal “reflects a significant improvement in relationships with the company since last year”.

He added, “It means better protection for pensions for Fujitsu employees across the UK and pay rises for most Manchester staff.”

The agreement also includes new facility time arrangements.

Ian Allinson, Unite senior rep, explained, “The agreement means a phased reduction in facility time for three reps in Manchester who have been spending more than 60 percent of their time on representative duties.

“This is offset by a removal of the limit on the number of Unite reps.

“More importantly, reps outside Manchester, who don’t have union recognition yet, will for the first time be allowed to deal with some issues in work time.

“We hope this will allow us to strengthen union organisation across the UK.”

If the statement about Alan Jenney means that there was a financial settlement rather than reinstatement, it would be wrong to call this a victory.

However, Unite says seven new reps have been elected so it is clear that the robust response from members has prevented his dismissal inflicting serious damage on union organisation.

It also enforced agreements Fujitsu was previously breaking and won some new gains.

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Tue 24 Jan 2012, 18:08 GMT
Issue No. 2287
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