Fujitsu strike goes up a gear

It’s been a busy time for Fujitsu workers, fighting against 1800 UK job cuts, for union recognition, and over pay and pensions.

On Thursday 20th, we took our message to the IndustriALL Global Union conference, which agreed support.

On Friday 21st, strikers and supporters took a letter to the Japanese ambassador in London and leafleted at the embassy.

Protesters with flags outside Japanese embassyOn Monday 24th, strikers from London, Manchester, Bracknell and Stevenage converged to leaflet the launch of Business In the Community’s “Responsible Business Week” in London, supported by local Unite Community activists. Frances O’Grady, the head of the TUC, stopped to get her photo taken with a few of us.

Frances O'Grady with protesters and Unite Community Camden bannerSeveral attendees were very interested in the gap between Fujitsu’s words and deeds. Fujitsu’s UK & Ireland head, Lucy Dimes, stopped to take a leaflet, but didn’t look as happy as Frances O’Grady.

Talks with the company took place on Tuesday, but while these were more positive, the company has still made no offer to resolve the dispute, and they continue to make staff redundant.

On Wednesday Manchester members met to decide their pay claim for 2017 and their response to an ultimatum from Fujitsu. Last year Unite had analysed Fujitsu pay and benefits information and shown the company has a major problem with inequality. Instead of agreeing to work with Unite to investigate and resolve the issues, Fujitsu launched a cover-up. It refused to give information to the Fujitsu Voice works council, which it then abolished, or to Unite. The union recently included UK-wide equality information in a request for information for collective bargaining under rights arising from union recognition in Manchester. Fujitsu responded by threatening to delay pay talks unless Unite dropped the request. Members voted not to give in to such behaviour and Unite is now pursuing legal action to force disclosure.

During the strike on Thursday we staged a social media protest, timed to coincide with the launch of the Times Top 50 employers for gender equality.

Tell Fujitsu Responsible Business needs deeds not wordsBetter weather cheered the pickets, with some rivalry developing on picket line catering around the country.

Basingstoke pickets enjoying cream tea

Friday’s strike coincided with International Workers’ Memorial Day, ane members took part in events, leafleting attendees to build support for the campaign.

Unite Fujitsu strikers amongst the crowdOver the May Day weekend members have been distributing the Appeal For Support leaflet while joining in festivities, including having Unite@Fujitsu speakers at the Manchester and Leeds events on Saturday.

This week we’re striking Thursday and Friday. Other activities will include:

  • A Skype call for members on Tuesday lunchtime
  • Pickets on Thursday & Friday
  • A meeting of the Unite Fujitsu UK Combine Committee in London on Thursday afternoon
  • A two-day course for members to learn how to accompany someone at a redundancy 1-1, appeal or grievance on Thursday & Friday in Salford
  • Writing to MPs and candidates
  • Protests at Sainsbury’s stores on Thursday and Friday (Sainsbury’s owns HRG/Argos, a Fujitsu customer). We are asking supporters to organise protests too (Facebook event).

Details of strike days and activities, leaflets etc are always updated on the dispute page: https://ouruniontest.wordpress.com/fujitsu-national-dispute/

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Unite members across Fujitsu Services Limited in the UK have been taking industrial as part of their dispute over jobs, union recognition, pay and pensions. Action from 28 February has included 15 days of strikes and ongoing action short of strike.

INDUSTRIAL ACTION IS CURRENTLY SUSPENDED while members consider an offer from Fujitsu.

The national dispute follows the resolution of a local dispute in Manchester which included 12 strike days.

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

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