AMICUS UNION members at Fujitsu Services in West Gorton, Manchester, have voted to strike by a majority of over 75 percent. The dispute is over two sets of issues. Firstly, the company are breaking longstanding union recognition and redundancy agreements. Secondly, the company have rejected the union's pay claim.
The claim was for sick pay (many staff lose pay whenever they're off ill), an Equal Pay Audit to identify discrimination, and a pay rise. Last year the company imposed a pay freeze after making massive job losses. Over 200 workers lost their jobs at West Gorton alone. Workers decided not to fight the pay freeze then, but to campaign for a decent rise this year. The company is now making profits.
Nonetheless, it has imposed a pay deal which left a third of the workforce with no rise at all. Around half of the 800 staff at West Gorton work in call centres. Amicus reps believe that the attacks on the union recognition and redundancy agreements are part of a wider strategy to get rid of the union. West Gorton is the only major site in the UK where Fujitsu Services recognises the union.
It tried to derecognise the union there in the 1980s, and only backed down after a strike vote. Amicus membership and organisation has been growing quickly throughout the company for several years.
Reps had given the company until noon of Tuesday this week to come up with a realistic offer and have arranged talks for Friday. Unless these bear fruit, industrial action will begin this Monday, 1 September, with a one-day strike.
Currently only a minority of Fujitsu employees are union members. Reps at West Gorton have been using donations from supporters to fund a union recruitment drive to help strengthen their position.
For more information and updates, go to www. ourunion.org.uk
Send messages of support or donations (payable to 'MSF Greater Manchester IT 9827 Branch') to Ian Allinson, Amicus, Fujitsu Services, Wenlock Way, West Gorton, Manchester M12 5DR.
E-mail [email protected] or fax 08707 052 814.