This week most Fujitsu Services employees in the UK are receiving a pay packet that buys less than the one they had a year ago, despite the continuing increases in company profits achieved through our hard work.
UNITE calculations from Fujitsu’s own data show that over the last four years typical pay for some roles has actually gone down in cash terms (i.e. even before allowing for inflation) and most have risen far below the 15-17% you would need just to have kept up with the rise in prices or average earnings.
The Manchester version of UNITE’s second national Fujitsu UK paper newsletter is available on CafeVIK, and this focuses on pay. Similar leaflets are being distributed at sites across the UK.
The reality is that Fujitsu’s so-called “performance related pay” system does not pay fairly. Most are getting pay rises far below inflation despite competent performance and a significant number even getting 0%. Those few who are getting real pay rises have generally had to take on far more work, skills and responsibilities to do so – the rises rarely reflect this adequately.
The secretive and arbitrary pay system is only benefiting those whose own generous pay and bonuses depend on boosting profits by driving down our wages year on year.
A few years ago the union published an entirely fictional story about Bodgit & Scarper PLC which illustrated how the scam of individual performance related pay works. Any resemblance to any real company is entirely in the mind of the reader.
The IT Sector Skills Council “e-Skills UK” conducted a survey which indicated that salaries for technology professionals in northern England grew by 4.8% during 2007, to an average of £30,333. They say our industry needs 140,000 new entrants per year until 2012 to cope with skills shortages and will need to attract half of these from other occupations.
Taking the sting out of the abolition of the 10% tax band
Many of those at the bottom of the pay ladder will also have been hit by the government’s abolition of the 10% tax band. The little known (and therefore hardly used) Working Tax Credit may help a little. This tax benefit is available to people who earn less than a threshold (which varies between £17,000 and £22,000 a year) and work at least 16 hours a week. It’s important to understand that it applies to those who don’t have children. That’s why it is different from the better known Working Families Tax Credit.
The basic benefit is £1,800 a year but there are many other types of payment depending on your own personal situation. It really is worth investigating to see if it applies to you. Full details are online http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/MoneyTaxAndBenefits/index.htm or by phoning the helpline on 0845 300 3900 or the textphone on 0845 300 3909. Lines are open every day (except Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day and Easter Day) from 8am and 8pm.
Fujitsu staff aren’t the only ones battling against attempts by employers to worsen pay and conditions.
Tomorrow, Thursday 24th April, sees teachers in the NUT, many civil servants in the PCS, further education lecturers in the UCU and UNITE members at Shelter taking part in national strikes to defend their living standards and the services they provide. They are being joined by union members in a number of local disputes such as council workers in Birmingham and Leeds.
We all remember how we benefited from the support and solidarity of other trade unionists during our dispute, including many of those on strike this week.
Why not pop along to a picket line near you on the way to work to show your support? Or if you’re not working (maybe because your kids are off school) why not go along to the various events in Manchester on the day:
- Rally hosted by the NUT, 11am, Friends Meeting House, Mount Street, Manchester City Centre (behind the Central Reference Library)
- Assemble 12:00 in Albert Square for a march and rally back in Albert Square with speakers from all the campaigns
If these campaigns are successful it is bound to raise the confidence of employees across Fujitsu to organise and campaign for fair pay.