Unite union members at Fujistu have announced a series of strikes—as bosses dismissed victimised rep Ian Allinson. The first walkout will begin on Wednesday 24 January.
Management disgracefully gave Ian his notice of dismissal while he was on compassionate leave to attend a family funeral. Bosses dismissed another rep on 28 December—and told them their last day of work would be 31 December.
These are just the latest attacks in a long running dispute over compulsory redundancies, victimisation of reps and breaches of a redundancy agreement. The union is encouraging people to sign a petition against bosses unfairly targeting reps. And workers are fighting back.
IT workers at Fujitsu in Manchester have taken 27 days of action in the last year – and they’re preparing for another wave of action.
They have announced strikes for Wednesday 24 – Friday 26 January, Tuesday 30 January and Thursday 8 February – Wednesday 14 February. Union members are also taking part in action short of a strike and are working to rule.
Some 50 trade unionists joined Ian on his last day at work. Ian described the demonstration as “very moving”.
“I think it gave a lot of the members a real boost,” he told Socialist Worker. “You could see the amount of support that was there, and with the strike starting soon it’s important to see that.”
Fujitsu has now sacked four of the six reps who have been at the forefront of the fight against job losses. And Ian, who plans to appeal his dismissal, said his sacking has wider implications for the way bosses would treat the workforce.
“If bosses can get away with treating people in the way and victimise reps, it’s a very dangerous sign for the future,” he explained. “Even if I’m not successful we have got to defend workplace organisation, because there are further attacks in the pipeline and other reps need to be safe.”
Strikers think the dispute will have a particularly big impact because Fujitsu is likely to be in the public eye in coming months. Half of Fujitsu’s contracts are in the public sector—and the company is currently engaged in a prolonged legal wrangle with the NHS. Both parties are suing each other because a contract was terminated early.
“Some of the workforce feel the company is trying to weaken the union and not be under any pressure,” said Ian.
“But this involves huge sums of public sector money and is a public interest issue.”