‘Discrimination’ of union reps and company backtrack on deal means Fujitsu facing further strike action

Below is a copy of Unite’s latest press release. For details of how to support us, see our Fujitsu Dispute page.

‘Discrimination’ of union reps and company backtrack on deal means Fujitsu facing further strike action

15 December 2017

Up to 300 Unite members in Manchester are to vote on further strike action at IT giant Fujitsu in one of the longest running industrial disputes in the UK.

The ballot comes after the failure of talks between Duncan Tait, Fujitsu’s head of Americas, Europe, Middle East, India and Africa and Len McCluskey, Unite’s general secretary where the union was seeking to halt the redundancy process for six members, and to address concerns that the company is discriminating against active union members.

The two met last week to discuss the issues facing members and the company. Len McCluskey asked Fujitsu to pause the redundancies of members fighting to stay and the victimisation of union reps.

Duncan Tait agreed that the redundancy processes for the six members would be paused for five/six weeks to allow time for discussions to try to find options for the six members but later this commitment was withdrawn.

Unite says that Fujitsu has reneged on this commitment by dismissing Mrs Saj Patel, who had over 17 years’ service with the company, with almost no warning.

The union argues that the dismissal breaks existing agreements because her grievance over her redundancy had not been heard. According to the union, part of that grievance was a complaint that her redundancy is linked to a pattern of bullying and sexual harassment and that Fujitsu has rushed to dismiss her rather than investigating her allegations properly.

The union says that at least three jobs in her department have been turned down by colleagues but not been offered to her.

Unite national officer for the IT sector Louisa Bull said: “This union has worked tirelessly to reach a reasonable and fair solution to this dispute.

“However, not only does the company not want to listen, it has backtracked on commitments and its treatment of union representatives is highly alarming and discriminatory.

“It looks now as if we are heading for further industrial action because this union will never accept this sort of behaviour from an employer.

“There are real and concerning problems in terms of how Fujitsu treats its workers, including those who have given years of loyal service. This mistreatment, allied to the company’s refusal to engage constructively, is causing the chances of a negotiated solution to recede by the day.

“We urge the company to think again and work with us to settle this dispute.”

According to Unite, a majority of the six are from an ethnic minority and a majority have a disability. The six include Ian Allinson and Denis Morris, two of the Unite representatives who the union claims are being unfairly victimised for their union activity.

Another, Lynne Hodge, is not currently at risk of redundancy but Unite says that Fujitsu’s HR department is blocking implementation of an agreed resolution and have told colleagues not to work with her.

According to the union, Fujitsu promised employee representatives information about the equality impact of the redundancies, but are now keeping this secret. This follows allegations of discrimination in previous Fujitsu redundancy programmes.

Last week workers staged protests in Manchester against Mrs Patel’s dismissal and in London against the victimisation of Ian Allinson. Over 2,100 people have signed an online petition against the victimisation of union reps at Fujitsu.

Union members have voted in a consultative ballot that they are prepared to take strike action and Unite is running a statutory ballot of Manchester members which closes on 10 January. This follows 27 days of strike action over the last year.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

Fujitsu employs nearly 8,000 people in the UK delivering IT services to government and major companies.

Petition against victimisations: https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/fujitsu-victimisations

For pictures and further information about the dispute see http://www.ouruniontest.wordpress.com, Facebook (www.facebook.com/UniteAtFujitsu) and Twitter https://twitter.com/unitefujitsu@UniteFujitsu

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on:  020 3371 2065

Email: shaun.noble@unitetheunion.org

Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: unitetheunion.org

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.

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Fujitsu Your Forum UK works council elections open tomorrow

Fujitsu Services Limited employees in the UK should receive an email tomorrow (Friday 15th Dec) from the Electoral Reform Services (ERS, OnlineVoting@electoralreform.co.uk) with details on how to vote for your “Your Forum” representative(s). If you do not receive the voting email by Monday, then please let us know by clicking here.

For more information, including an explanation of why this election is important and why you should vote for union-backed candidates, see https://ouruniontest.wordpress.com/your-forum/

Please try to vote as soon as you get the email from ERS. Please let your reps know when you’ve voted in the Your Forum elections using the Unite email notice.

Please put the following union-backed candidate(s) top of your list in the recommended order, then vote for as many of the other candidates as you want.

Constituency Candidates
BAS – Application Transformation 1. Joe Harrison
2. Tony Davies
BAS – Enterprise Applications 1. Adam Leonard
BAS – Other
C&C and Legal & Commercial 1. Jonathan Jenner
2. Helen Kerr
3. Chris Pratt
DNS  
Enterprise & Cyber Security  
EPS 1. Sarah Skelding
2. Andy Taylor
Finance 1. Andy Slater
HMRC  
HR  
Marketing, Global and Other 1. Mike Efstathiou
MIS – CSM 1. Matt Whaley
2. David Ibbotson
3. Daniel Burrows
MIS – Hybrid IT 1. Eoin Byrne
2. Arthur Spence
3. Nick Parlow
4. Frank Gawthorpe
MIS – N&T
MIS – Program & Project Services 1. John Garvani
2. Stephen Lowe
3. Ian Allinson
MIS – Service Desks and Other
MIS – TMS 1. Colin Wray
Operations 1. Pauline Bradburn
2. Carl Langley
3. Patricia Stevens
4. Sarah English
Products 1. Lewin Cox
Sales

 

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Notice of Fujitsu Manchester industrial action ballot

Following the vote in the recent consultative ballot and Fujitsu reneging on its promise to pause the dismissals of the six members fighting their redundancy, Unite has now issued notice of the industrial action ballot to Fujitsu which you can read, along with a sample ballot paper, on the intranet. The official notice to members is below. The notices will also be displayed on the union noticeboards at Central Park.

The voting period is over the Christmas period and new legislation invalidates the result unless we achieve a turnout of at least 50% so please return your ballot paper, which is sent by post, promptly, as soon as you receive it. Look out for updates – important information will be sent out over the coming week.

The issues covered by this ballot are:

  • Compulsory Redundancies of Unite members trying to stay in Fujitsu
  • Victimisation of Unite representatives
  • Breaches of redundancy agreement including appeals and grievance procedures

Ballot papers will be posted out on Wednesday 20 December 2017. To count, votes must be received by noon on Wednesday 10 January 2018.

If you change address, know you will be leaving Fujitsu prior to 24 January 2018, expect to be off work or posted outside the UK throughout any twelve-week period from 24 January, please reply with the details as soon as possible.

Don’t forget the lunchtime members’ call 12:30-13:30 tomorrow (Thursday 14th) which will provide further information about the ballot and allow members to ask questions.

UNITE THE UNION

Fujitsu Services Limited

NOTICE TO MEMBERS OF FORTHCOMING INDUSTRIAL ACTION BALLOT

The Union intends to conduct a ballot for industrial action of all members employed by Fujitsu Services Limited in the Manchester bargaining unit.

Voting papers will be sent out on Wednesday 20th December 2017. If you have not received a voting paper by Friday 29th December you should contact unitetheunion@uk.fujitsu.com IMMEDIATELY.

The names of the members to be balloted are available from our membership secretary (via unitetheunion@uk.fujitsu.com) from Friday 15th December. If you are entitled to vote in the ballot please check that you are on the list and that your address is accurately recorded.

If you know anyone who is away from work at the moment but who should be included in the ballot, please give his/ her name to unitetheunion@uk.fujitsu.com so that your reps can check whether your colleague should be sent a voting paper.

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Fujitsu consultative ballot results

On Friday afternoon Unite opened an email consultative ballot over the following issues:

  • Stop the redundancies of the members fighting to stay
  • Stop victimising our reps

It was emphasised that members should vote exactly as they would vote in a statutory postal ballot, otherwise your reps cannot take into account members’ views when deciding on next steps.

Members were asked “Are you prepared to take part in industrial action consisting of a strike and action short of strike?”

The ballot closed at 2pm yesterday and the results were:

Turnout Yes No
Manchester 50.4% 64.2% 35.8%
UK including Manchester 37.9% 59.3% 40.7%

These results are a powerful message to Fujitsu – not only with a clear vote in favour of industrial action but a remarkably high turnout in just two working days.

Unite reps and officers are discussing next steps in light of members’ views.

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Member’s job on the line. Protests in London and Manchester

Crowd with posters inside Fuijtsu buildingFujitsu plans to dismiss a Unite member in Manchester today, having given her just 48 hours’ warning, despite her having an outstanding grievance over her redundancy – in breach of the Manchester agreements.

In less than a day Manchester members pulled together a protest yesterday. Unite reps and officers are working hard to get her dismissal stopped.

She is one of six members who have been selected for redundancy and are fighting to stay in the company, using the appeal/grievance processes. All these members are in the Manchester bargaining unit. A majority of the six are from an ethnic minority and a majority have a disability. One has complained of sexual harassment. The six include Ian Allinson and Denis Morris, two of the Unite Reps who are being unfairly victimised for their union activity. Rep Lynne Hodge is not currently at risk of redundancy but the company has still not implemented the agreed resolution, after stopping her doing most of her job in May 2016 and telling colleagues not to work with her.

On Monday Len McCluskey met Duncan Tait. Your reps expect to issue an update from this meeting later this week.

Protesters outside Fujitsu's London HQ in Baker StreetYesterday there was also a protest outside LON22 before Ian Allinson’s final hearing. The outcome is not expected until after New Year.

 

 

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Update on Fujitsu Dispute

On Monday 4th December Unite General Secretary Len McCluskey expects to meet Duncan Tait, the head of Fujitsu in Europe, the Middle East, India, Africa and the Americas to discuss our dispute. He will be pressing Fujitsu stop the redundancies of the Unite members fighting to stay in the company, and to stop trying to victimise Unite reps.

On Tuesday 5th December the final stage redundancy hearing for Ian Allinson, our chair, is being reconvened again (for the last time) in London. We are asking supporters to protest outside:

Tuesday 5 December, 8:30-10am, Fujitsu, 22 Baker Street, London, W1U 3BW (please share and invite people using the Facebook event)

Meanwhile members are busy distributing leaflets at sites across the UK.

Len McCluskey will be speaking to Unite members in Fujitsu on Thursday to discuss the dispute, after which reps expect to open a consultative ballot on further industrial action, with a view to opening a statutory industrial action ballot before Christmas unless there is sufficient movement from the company.

Thanks to all of you who have already signed the petition against victimisations. The first batch of signatures were handed in at Ian’s last hearing on 8 November but we continue to collect more. Ian, Denis and Lynne are still fighting against victimisation. Thanks to those who joined physical and online protests. Our Thunderclap social media protest, which coincided with the Fujitsu Forum trade fair, reached 89,003 people.

We are continuing to maintain the dispute page on our web site with latest information and how you can help. You can also follow and promote the campaign via our presence on Facebook and Twitter.

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Latest Unite@Fujitsu leaflets

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Sign the petition – defend the union

Unite members working for Fujitsu Services Limited in the Manchester bargaining unit are balloting for industrial action over compulsory redundancies, victimisation of reps and breaches of agreements. This follows 27 previous days of strike action.

Further information is available here including a downloadable appeal for support leaflet and how to donate to our strike fund.

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