Last week saw even more members getting involved in picketing and campaigning activities around the strike.
As well as picketing in Manchester, we:
– Leafleted Fujitsu sites in Footscray, Swansea, Newport, Warrington, Bracknell, Slough, Crewe, Wakefield and Bolton
– Toured raising support in London, South Wales, Crewe, Preston, Sheffield and of course Manchester
– Raised support outside other workplaces in Manchester and Chesterfield
– Held a joint rally with striking civil servants and NHS workers, building more links with our customers
– Protested outside customers (Marks & Spencer, Tesco and Orange)
– Continued our campaign with MPs
– Had training on campaigning and organising
– Held a protest outside Central Park – “If Fujitsu won’t come to the negotiating table, we’ll take the table to Fujitsu”
– Spoke at many meetings
– Raised thousands of pounds
All this was only possible because so many members played their part. More reports, including photos, are being posted on www.ourunion.org.uk/news.
If you were out and about last week, please make sure you write up what happened ASAP and give a copy to rep Isabel Hay, so that your successes can be followed up.
If you have any of the strike paraphernalia (placards, buckets etc), please contact our “quartermaster”, Phil Tepper, so that we know where it all is, and to arrange to return it where appropriate.
Fujitsu offered doughnuts, cookies etc to those who worked. Some felt this showed the company’s low opinion of the intelligence of its workforce, who they hoped would forget about pay, redundancy rights etc (doh!). Others suggested this was real progress, as it’s not so long since a company negotiator said he wouldn’t offer staff “a peanut”. Does anyone think the doughnut supply will continue if we lose?
Though no talks have been arranged yet, subject to a view from ACAS, it seems likely that talks will resume soon, which is welcome news. However, there are many issues to resolve and we must avoid easing off the pressure until the ink is dry on a settlement members are happy with.
Our campaign relies on three forms of pressure on the company:
1) The industrial action itself, the impact on projects, customers etc
2) External campaigning with customers, MPs, the media etc
3) Helping staff on other Fujitsu sites get organised. Most sites don’t yet have union recognition at all.
We’re also trying to strike a balance between campaigning activity that puts pressure on the company and raising the funds to sustain our fight.
Friday’s EGM reviewed the campaign so far and discussed next steps. We felt that the external and organising aspects had been given a huge boost during the week, but that it would take time and effort to follow these up effectively. We needed to make sure we were escalating the campaign as a whole, not just one aspect of it, to maximise the pressure on the company and minimise the cost to members.
The EGM on Friday decided:
– To seek to engage in talks with the company at ACAS as soon as possible
– To intensify political and customer pressure
– To increase our efforts to organise and recruit more members in Manchester and the rest of the country
– To continue the action short of strike
– To authorise the reps to choose up to a total of six days strike action per month
The decision on “up to a total of six days” would allow flexibility to take patterns of days to fit in with the campaign timetable, and nobody was suggesting this meant one 6-day strike. If less than 6-days in a month were needed, so much the better. Reps were also asked to take account of pay periods in choosing days.
Everyone hoped agreement could be reached before further action was necessary, but members were determined to ensure the dispute was brought to a swift and satisfactory conclusion.
It was agreed to maintain a list of people reps could occasionally ask to do activity before work, after work, or on a day’s annual leave. If you are prepared to be on any of these lists, please let your reps know.
There was a discussion about the April 2007 pay review. It was agreed that it would be a diversion to put in a formal pay claim and start another set of talks, when we still had no pay agreement for last year. Instead, we would step up campaigning around pay and benefits and seek to get the 2007 pay review sorted out as part of a settlement of the dispute. This would also have the advantage of making it harder for the company to delay talks and our pay rises yet again.
It was agreed to elect Jackie Cook as a new Rep, subject to one of the less active existing reps agreeing to step down. If this wasn’t possible, the matter could be brought back to the next EGM.
It was agreed to continue the strike committee, which had proved highly effective in organising the campaign and allowing members who aren’t reps to get more involved. Venues, times etc will vary as required.
Reps intend to hold a strike committee meeting on Thursday evening specifically to work on the campaign strategy and plan. If you would want to take part in this, please contact rep Isabel Hay.