If Fujitsu thought they could sit out the dispute and it would go away, they were badly mistaken. Since the industrial action was suspended Unite members and supporters have been busy protesting and building support for the campaign. Fujitsu should stop being an irresponsible business and victimising whistleblowers.
Campaigners protested outside the Responsible Business Week Reception hosted by Business In The Community (BITC) in London on Tuesday 24th April. The reception celebrated the announcement of the Responsible Business Longlist and the Times Top 50 Employers for Women. Many attendees spoke to protestors, including one individual who had received an award and felt that award had been devalued by Fujitsu’s actions.
Fujitsu management were delighted that Fujitsu was named in the “Times Top 50 Employers for Women”. Did those who took the decision know the truth about Fujitsu? Did they know that Fujitsu reneged on its promise to share its equality impact assessments for the recent redundancies, after evidence of discrimination in previous redundancies? Did they know that Fujitsu dismissed a woman employee without even hearing her grievance about sex discrimination which she claimed was linked to her selection? Did they know that Fujitsu, which has a 17.9% gender pay gap but went to court to try to stop the union getting access to equality information about the company’s secretive pay and benefits system? Did they know that Fujitsu promised an equal pay review more than ten years ago but still haven’t done it? How do the other employers on the Times list feel about being in such company?
The day after the awards ceremony Fujitsu made a woman with an ethnic minority background and childcare responsibilities redundant, despite her request to work her notice to progress redeployment opportunities within Fujitsu.
Campaigners have been raising the profile of the dispute at events including the Workers Memorial Day rally in Manchester on Saturday 28th April and the Manchester May Day festival.
Members have discussed the dispute with several MPs including Angela Rayner (shadow minister for Education) and John McDonnell (shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer) who pledged his support for the dispute. Given that Fujitsu relies on the public sector for about half its UK business, is it really good business for senior management to behave in ways that damage the company’s reputation?
Unite members at Fujitsu Manchester met on Tuesday 17 April 2018 and decided that their fight over compulsory redundancies, victimisation of reps, and breaches of agreements will continue. All industrial action is currently suspended following the end of the 12-week period of maximum legal protection for strikers. Members had taken 32 days’ of strike action under the most recent ballot, bringing the total to 59.
At the meeting, reps reported back on the progress of the dispute with an update from Louisa Bull (our Unite National Officer). Louisa Bull said she felt it was important that someone from Unite nationally attended the meeting to show support and congratulate members on the efforts they have made in a difficult series of disputes. Len McCluskey sent via Louisa a message of continued support. Louisa also reported that a Japanese union had written to Tanaka-san (Fujitsu President) in support of our dispute and Louisa received a message from the Japanese union to say that Fujitsu Japan were intending to respond to Len’s letter.
The following motion was carried at the meeting:
Today is the end of the 12 weeks of the third wave of industrial action. We congratulate those who took part, in line with the democratic decisions of members. We thank all those who have supported us. However, the actions taken in the “leverage-style” campaigning and the level of participation in the industrial action have not yet been sufficient to secure a settlement.
We believe Fujitsu is making compulsory redundancies even when these are unjustified and in breach of its agreements, employees’ contracts or the law. It is using this to victimise reps and trying to silence whistleblowers.
We are committed to securing a settlement to the dispute in order to protect our union organisation for the future and those affected by the company’s actions.
We call on Unite to support the continuation and escalation of the leverage-style campaign in pursuit of a settlement acceptable to members, as requested by Unite Fujitsu reps in Manchester, Fujitsu reps nationally and as supported by the NISC.
We resolve to redouble our efforts to strengthen union organisation within Fujitsu, to encourage members to stick together, and to play an active part in appropriate campaign activities.
It was agreed to send this motion to the NISC (GPM&IT National Industrial Sector Committee) and Unite General Secretary (Len McCluskey).
For further information and how to support us, see tiny.cc/fujitsudispute
On Friday, the 59th strike day for Fujitsu Manchester and the end of a 9-day strike, our flag was flying even higher than usual:
Meanwhile our gazebo had been decorated with photos and hundreds of messages of support (which you can also read here).
We’d like to give a big thank you to all the individuals and organisations who have donated to our strike fund, which has been essential to sustain us through this long battle. As well as collections and a few anonymous donations, we’ve had contributions from:
- A J Davies
- Amicus (CMA) Chesterfield PHQ Branch
- Amicus Bracknell Branch
- Amicus Lever Brothers Port Sunlight No704 Branch
- Anne Saxon
- Anthony Davies
- Bolton & District Teachers Association
- Bramwell S
- Brian Higgins
- Cheshire Association of Trades Union Councils
- Crewe & District Trades Union Council
- CWU North West Central Amalgamated Branch
- David Parkinson
- Harris P MAN-IT-WORKS
- J & K Allinson
- Jim Singh
- Joan Norton
- John Jones
- Labour Students collection
- Mr A I Clariana-Piga
- Mr D Chadwick
- Mrs J Upward
- Mrs Joan G Norton
- Ms Jane Dinsdale
- Nigel Coward
- Picket line collection
- Roberts T J
- Rochdale Metropolitan Trades Council
- Southwark Teachers Association-NUT
- Southwark Trades U
- Southwark Unite Community
- Stockport Trades Council
- Unison Four Seasons Industrial Action
- Unison Rochdale Local Government Branch
- Unison Rochdale Number 1 Account
- Unite 1/1426 Great Yarmouth & District
- Unite Bracknell Branch 939
- Unite Bristol Area Workers Group (GPM & IT)
- Unite Bristol Composite Branch
- Unite Bristol GPM and IT Branch
- Unite Central Manchester 0604 Branch
- Unite Crewe 2 Branch NEW/0270
- Unite Crewe No2 NW/0270 Branch
- Unite Glasgow Retired Members
- Unite Housing Work
- Unite LE/00013 Lambeth & Southwark Com Branch
- Unite LE/0694M Clerkenwell & St Pancras Branch
- Unite LE/127
- Unite LE/406 Norwich District #1 Branch
- Unite LE/7064E National Publishing & Media Branch
- Unite LE/7098L London Fujitsu Combine
- Unite LE/7377L Barclays Branch
- Unite LE/RM009 Luton Retired Members Branch
- Unite Leeds NE/GEO/12 Branch
- Unite Manchester Central Branch 0604
- Unite Manchester GEMS Sector NW/0904 Branch
- Unite NE/203/5 Tyneside Electrical Eng & Electronic
- Unite NE/GEO/1 Sheffield East
- Unite NW Region
- Unite NW/0176 Burnley Branch
- Unite NW/0237 Chorley Branch
- Unite NW/0522 Preston & South Ribble Branch
- Unite NW/0619 Mid-Cheshire Branch
- Unite NW/109 Barclays Manchester Branch
- Unite NW/113 Diodes Zetex Semiconductors Branch
- Unite NW/12401 Capita Manchester Branch
- Unite NW/387 Riverside Group National Branch
- Unite NW/55 Fujitsu NW Branch
- Unite NW/5501
- Unite NW/64 BAE Systems Wardle & Samlesbury
- Unite Preston 0754 Branch
- Unite Retired Members Glasgow Branch
- Unite Rolls Royce Industrial SW/8008 Branch
- Unite RR Aerostaff
- Unite SC/164/NHS Glasgow
- Unite SC-164-NHS N
- Unite SE/6105 Gatwick Airport Branch
- Unite SE/6235 Slough Branch
- Unite SW/001408 Bristol Area Health Sector Branch
- Unite the Union Fylde Coast Branch
- Unite WM6050 C&W Local Tom Mann Branch
- Unite/ Belfast Shorts & NI/T&E
- Unite LE/7098L London Fujitsu Combine
- Workplace collection by Roderick Cobley
On Friday (13 April) Gerry O and friends have organised a fundraising gig for us in Rochdale:
For more information about how to support us, see tiny.cc/fujitsudispute
Last week Unite’s General Secretary Len McCluskey wrote to Fujitsu’s global president, Tatsuya Tanaka. The full letter is here. Len McCluskey says:
Despite pressure from within my own organisation I have instructed that there be no serious escalation in our activity. However, if as has been the case to date, we are unable to resolve the issues directly with Fujitsu management, we will have no choice but to bring our concerns to the attention of other stakeholders. This could include Fujitsu; customers, competitors, shareholders, analysts, commentators, partners, suppliers, governments and regulators.
Fujitsu workers in Manchester are currently taking a 9-day strike, having previously taken 50 strike days. They are fighting against victimisation of union reps (including Ian Allinson who was dismissed in January) compulsory redundancies, and breaches of agreements.
On Thursday 5 April protesters will be taking the message about Fujitsu’s unethical and possibly illegal behaviour to the Japanese embassy in London. Please join the protest if you can. Full details are on tiny.cc/fujitsudispute or on the Facebook event.
On Friday 6 April strikers and supporters will be protesting outside Fujitsu’s offices in Manchester between 7-10am. There will be a rally around 8:30am. Full details are on tiny.cc/fujitsudispute or on the Facebook event.
On Friday 13 April at 7:30pm supporters have organised a solidarity fundraising gig at the Woolworths Club, Gipsy Lane, Castleton, OL11 3HA. There will be live music from Gerry O & Friends. £5 on door, all welcome. [Facebook event].
For more information on the dispute and how to support us, see tiny.cc/fujitsudispute.
Following 17 days of strike action since 24 January, Unite’s dispute at Fujitsu continues to escalate.
Unite has announced the next 15 strike days for employees in the Manchester bargaining unit:
- Fri 16 March – Wed 21 March 2018 (6 days)
- Thu 29 March – Fri 6 April 2018 (9 days including the Easter bank holiday weekend)
For the latest information and resources, including how to support us, always check tiny.cc/fujitsudispute.
Unite believes that Fujitsu is trying to silence whistleblowers by dismissing some and by showing that it can make compulsory redundancies even when these are unjustified and in breach of its agreements, employees’ contracts or the law.
Strikers braved atrocious weather to keep the pickets going and take support to UCU members on strike at universities over their pensions.
If the “Beast from the East” can’t stop us, Fujitsu certainly won’t.
The escalation is about more than strike days though. The new phase of the campaign was launched with a big protest outside Fujitsu’s Manchester site when senior management paid a visit on Friday 23 February.
The message was delivered again on Tuesday 27 February with a protest outside Fujitsu’s “Executive Discussion Evening” in London:
As if determined to reinforce the message of the protest about Fujitsu trying to silence whistleblowers, Fujitsu’s response was to call in their head of security and the police rather than address the issues:
ComputerWorld UK carried a long article about the dispute “What’s behind the strike wave at Fujitsu Services?“
Protesters held a demonstration this morning (23 February) outside Fujitsu’s offices in Manchester. They are accusing the company of using the cover of redundancies to get rid of workers who blew the whistle on unethical and possibly illegal company behaviour.
The protest coincided with a visit to the site by Duncan Tait, head of Fujitsu Europe, Middle East, India, Africa and the Americas and many other senior managers and HR.
On 12 January 2018 Fujitsu dismissed a Unite representative. Before the dismissal whistleblowers raised extremely serious and damaging issues with the company which the union is compiling. Union reps have previously been targeted with spurious disciplinary allegations for legitimate union activity.
Unite national officer Louisa Bull said: “Unite believes that Fujitsu is trying to silence whistleblowers by dismissing some, and showing that it can make compulsory redundancies even when these are in breach of its agreements, employees’ contracts or the law.
“Taxpayers and clients need to know what is going on at Fujitsu, those blowing the whistle should not be sacked.
“Unite is demanding transparency and the reinstatement of our union representative. It is also time to end the unfair targeting of Unite members fighting for their jobs and for Fujitsu to adhere to its own agreements and ethical standards.”
Protesters handed out a leaflet explaining the serious allegations:
For more information about the dispute and how to support us, see tiny.cc/fujitsudispute.
Since Unite announced strike action at Fujitsu Manchester from Thursday 22 to Wednesday 28 February, Fujitsu has announced an employee briefing with Duncan Tait (Fujitsu’s head of the Americas, Europe, Middle East, India and Africa) and Adrian Hart (Head of HR for Europe, Middle East, India and Africa) to take place this Friday (23 February).
Fujitsu may have chosen this date to dodge any challenge from strikers, but the strikers are keen to talk to them.
The industrial action scheduled for Friday 23rd February 2018 has been postponed to allow members to attend the briefing, so members should not take part in any action on that day.
The strikes on Thursday 22nd February, and Saturday 24th February to Wednesday 28 February 2018 are going ahead as planned.
On Thursday 22nd February there will be a meeting for all Unite members in the Fujitsu Manchester bargaining unit. This will take place after the pickets, from 11am in the “BMX Podium” room at the National Cycling Centre, Stuart Street, Manchester M11 4DQ. Map. Tea and coffee will be available on arrival. There is bike and car parking at the velodrome, which is also by the Velopark Metrolink station.
For more information about the dispute and how to support us, see tiny.cc/fujitsudispute