Following the 5-day strike, talks at ACAS are due to resume on Monday 19th February, which is excellent news, coming after over two months with no negotiations.
The delay is obviously disappointing, and will not reassure staff that the company is serious about reaching a speedy settlement.
In line with the decisions of members at last Friday’s EGM, plans are being laid to increase the pressure on the company further. We have to convince senior management that allowing HR to jeopardise their business plans is just not worth it.
On Wednesday, Ian Allinson, Dean Burn and Pauline Bradburn took a day off to travel down with Sarah Holden (one of our full-time officers) to the House of Commons, where they discussed the dispute with several MPs. You can see some of the photos on the web site here. A number of MPs have already written to Fujitsu to complain about the company’s behaviour, and the MPs we met suggested a number of ideas to increase pressure for a settlement.
We now have MPs who are willing to help coordinate our campaign within parliament, but they stressed the need for members across the UK to help prepare the ground by:
– Writing to your own MP
– Getting friends, family and colleagues to write to their MPs
– Keep writing back to your MP when they respond, to keep the issue high on their agenda
You can find your MP here: http://www.upmystreet.com/commons/l/
You can find the notes Amicus produced to help you write to your MP here: http://www.ourunion.org.uk/news/archives/2007_01.htm#000858
Meanwhile, work has been going on so that an instalment of financial support for strikers can be paid in the next few days to members who requested it.
Tuesday afternoon saw over fifty staff protesting outside the disciplinary hearing for Ian Allinson, our senior rep, calling on the company to settle the dispute rather than trying to victimise our reps. Other posters made the point that “Representation is only refused when our rights are to be abused”. Larry Upton, the company’s new “Employee Relations Manager” was hanging around, so it was worthwhile everyone turning up – the protest was even bigger than last time.
Health & Safety should be an area where the company and employees can cooperate to deliver a good working environment. Staff safety should come first, rather than being a ball to be kicked about in HR’s union-busting games.
Employee reps from Amicus and the UK Consultative Forum (UKCF) have been encouraging the company for years to consult employees on Health & Safety matters even on sites where they don’t yet benefit from union recognition. The company maintains the charade that they consult each employee directly (the other legal alternative, intended for small firms). Apart from the email about the top-level safety policy, when were you last individually consulted by Fujitsu on a Health & Safety matter?
The law says that recognised unions can appoint Health & Safety Reps who have legal standing. In Amicus, we elect them and they get proper training. Where there’s no recognised union, the employer can hold elections for Representatives of Employee Safety (RoES) to perform some of the same functions. Fujitsu still refuses to do this across the UK, citing the cost of having all these people involved in safety. Of course, if they actually did consult every employee individually, the cost would be even higher, but the reality is that they don’t consult at all.
This week’s Manchester Health & Safety committee meeting saw the company return to one of its earlier union-busting wheezes. While the company hasn’t put in place an effective consultation process for the 10,000+ employees without union recognition, they suggested setting up an extra (non-union) one in Manchester for those who are already represented by trained Amicus Health & Safety Reps.
While the company thinks Representatives of Employee Safety are too expensive to improve the health and safety of non-Manchester staff, it seems money is no object when the objective is to divide the Manchester workforce.