Fujitsu staff vote to strike over pension changesBy Hugh Fort
September 04, 2009
Fujitsu staff have voted overwhelming in favour of industrial action, which could include striking, if plans to change the company’s pension system go ahead.
Employees at the firm’s offices in Lovelace Road, Bracknell, who belong to union Unite have voted in principle for industrial action.
Fujitsu, which also has offices in Winnersh, is in the process of consulting staff on the proposed changes to the pension scheme and plans to announce its decision later this month.
The company has declined to comment on its plans or reveal specific details because it is still consultating.
Of staff in the union, 96 per cent voted in favour of some form of industrial action and 87 per cent said they would go on strike if the changes were made.
Last week, Fujitsu announced it was cutting 1,200 jobs, 10 per cent of its UK workforce.
Employees have already faced a pay freeze earlier this year, as well the plans to change the pension system.
It is estimated around 4,000 staff around the country could be affected by the changes.
The company employs 1,240 people Bracknell and less than 20 in Winnersh.
Unite claims the company wants to dismiss staff by the end of the month and re-employ them on new contracts with the reduced pension terms.
The union says its research reveals employees are likely to lose about 15 per cent of their pay if the new pension scheme goes ahead.
Members are also unhappy at the way the pay freeze was introduced, claiming employees were only given a week’s notice before it happened.
It also says many staff lost out on pay rises promised before the freeze.
It argues the company made considerable profits of £200 million before tax last year and has also paid out £1.59 million to two directors who were made redundant.
Peter Skyte, Unite national officer for IT and communications, said: “Fujitsu Services is not struggling or failing.
“It is a highly profitable and successful company but one which is taking advantage of the recession to attack jobs, pay, pensions and conditions.
“Our members are insisting the company should pay fairly and provide decent pensions for all its employees.
“Following the announcement of 1,200 redundancies, they are now calling for the issue of job cuts to be included in any ballot for formal industrial action.
“We are calling on the company to meet us to resolve these issues and avoid the risk of damaging industrial action.”
In the announcement last week the company said it had tried a range of other measures including cutting temporary staff and spending, but still had no option but to cut staff.
It is holding another consultation over the cuts and hopes to have completed the process by the end of the year.