Dispute Update

Talks over our ongoing dispute started again at ACAS yesterday.
The emails below show the bizarre turn of events since then:

From: Upton Larry
Sent: 20 February 2007 17:28
To: Allinson Ian
Cc: Bull Richard; Morgan Howard; Brian Sykes (ACAS); Terry Thompson (Amicus); Hodge Lynne; Munir Sulayman
Subject: RE: AMICUS: ACAS talks
I can confirm that the note below represents the actions that the Company will take if Amicus does not issue the notice of action for the planned strike on 28th February. If Amicus is prepared not to issue this notice the Company will continue the ACAS talks on Friday.
As notified a few minutes ago, our team is available on 8th and 9th March.
I would be grateful if you could let me know as soon as possible tomorrow the decision of Amicus on this matter. As I expect to be out of e-mail contact for some of tomorrow, can you please call me on ?
As there is a general expectation of strike action on 28th February it will, I believe, be helpful for there to be a co-ordinated communication to interested parties if the action is not to go ahead.
Larry Upton
Employee Relations Manager
From: Allinson Ian
Sent: 20 February 2007 17:12
To: Upton Larry
Cc: Bull Richard; Morgan Howard; Brian Sykes (ACAS); Terry Thompson (Amicus); Hodge Lynne; Munir Sulayman
Subject: RE: AMICUS: ACAS talks
As agreed, I’m sending this note to confirm our conversations today. You said you would reply straight away to confirm or correct so that reps can take a decision accordingly. We undertook to let you know the outcome tomorrow at the latest.
Yesterday Amicus had floated some new ideas, but the company hasn’t yet discussed these with us.
The company is only willing to continue ACAS discussions on Friday on condition that Amicus doesn’t issue the notice of action for the planned strike on Wednesday 28th February. In recognition that if Amicus took this conciliatory step, the company would in exchange:
1. Restore facility time for our Union Learning Rep to the arrangements prior to it being stopped. A meeting will be organised within two weeks to discuss Union Learning, as a result of which new arrangements may be put in place.
2. Agree that no sanctions will be taken against any employee for “withdrawal of goodwill” as part of the current dispute.
You said that the company could not make a team available for negotiations next week, apart from on Thursday, which clashes with the Amicus Annual General Meeting. We agreed that talking on the day of the AGM was unlikely to be helpful for either party. You agreed to check for other possible dates.
We reiterated the point made by both parties yesterday that we need an agreement quickly to ensure a punctual 2007 pay review.
If Amicus agrees not to issue the planned notice of action for 28th February, the company will work with us on Friday with the aim of producing a documented outcome which can be put to a vote of members at the AGM on Thursday 1st March. Such an outcome would have to be at a high-level, with further work required to flesh out the detail.
From: Allinson Ian
Sent: 19 February 2007 21:35
To: Upton Larry
Cc: Bull Richard; Morgan Howard; Brian Sykes (ACAS); Terry Thompson (Amicus); Hodge Lynne; Munir Sulayman
Subject: AMICUS: ACAS talks
Our team asked me to send you a short note confirming where we’re up to.
We all agreed to continue talks on Friday. You had previously arranged rooms at One Central Park (next door to the Fujitsu offices). The company was aware that in order to comply with the law, Amicus would need to send the notice of the planned strike on 28th February prior to Friday’s meeting. There would still be time to call off this strike if good progress on Friday.
Amicus and ACAS are also available for talks on Tuesday 27th – could you let us know whether the company can field a team? The more progress we can report to our members by the AGM on Thursday 1st March, the better.
Today Amicus floated some ideas about the possible shape of an overall settlement. Rather than spending time drafting detailed documents prior to further discussion, we think it would be most fruitful if the company could come on Friday having prepared to do the same.
Today discussions touched upon a number of topics which were not fresh in everyone’s minds. The email I sent on 27/11/2006, prior to the previous ACAS talks, included the various draft documents which we had jointly marked up with comments showing the issues still under discussion at that point. It may be useful for us all to refresh our memories so that we can make the best use of the time together on Friday.

Members at the EGM on 17th January had decided “That we should continue to be available for dispute talks at any time, but that unlike in November, we should not suspend the action unless there was tangible evidence of good prospects of success, to avoid further time-wasting”.
While the company has done nothing whatsoever to provide “tangible evidence of good prospects of success” in the talks so far, they are not actually asking us to “suspend the action”. Action short of strike is ongoing, as is the wider campaign. What the company has asked us to do is refrain from actually calling the action planned for 28th February.
As members had authorised reps to choose the strike days, your reps believe this decision does fall within their remit.
Your reps have asked Amicus NOT to issue the notice for the one-day strike on 28th February, so this strike will NOT go ahead.
The company has agreed to make two small but welcome gestures in return, as set out in the email. The first will allow our Union Learning Rep to resume her duties for the time being. The second lifts the threat made by the company in its notice of 17th November to employees taking action short of strike.
Talks will continue on Friday, and after the significant moves made by Amicus, the onus is now on the company to come up with something substantial that members can vote on at the AGM.

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'Fujitsu Whistleblower' hotline. Concerned about unethical or illegal practices? Contact the hotline on 0800 852 7479 or fujitsu.whistleblowers@unitetheunion.org. It is run by Unite the Union and your identity will be kept strictly confidential. Don't let Fujitsu silence whistleblowers.

Unite members working for Fujitsu Services Limited in the Manchester bargaining unit have taken 32 strike days over compulsory redundancies, victimisation of reps and breaches of agreements. This follows 27 previous days of strike action.

Industrial action is currently suspended but the fight continues.

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

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