IT workers @ Fujitsu vote to strike

Unite members employed by Fujitsu Services in Manchester have voted in favour of both strike action and action short of a strike in response to the company’s continued refusal to abide by negotiated agreements reached with the union and the continued attack on union representatives.

Unite members voted by 85.6% for industrial action short of strike and by 56.4% for strike action. Strike dates are being set.

The ballot result follows on from Unite supporting union representative Alan Jenney at an employment tribunal last week. Unite says that he has been dismissed due to his union activities. The verdict on his interim relief claim is expected next week with a full hearing on unfair dismissal being listed for five days next April.

Alan is a 39-year-old IT professional who lives in Crewe and has worked for Fujitsu for 17 years since leaving full-time education.

Unite has consistently sought to avoid the use of industrial action by utilising ACAS as conciliators, but after discussions stretching over weeks little progress has been made.

Kevin O’Gallagher, Unite’s national officer for IT and communications said: “Our members have made it loud and clear that they are no longer willing to put up with Fujitsu flouting agreements and leaving union representatives, fearing for their futures when carrying out their legitimate business. It is totally wrong to target someone who only wants to support their colleagues at work. We urge the company to see sense and resolve the outstanding issues through negotiation.”

Full Ballot results are as follows:

Question: Are you prepared to take part in strike action?

No. of votes cast: 202

Spoiled voting papers: 1

Number voting yes: 114

Number voting no: 87

Question: Are you prepared to take part in industrial action short of a strike?

No. of votes cast: 202

Spoiled voting papers: 1

Number voting yes: 173

Number voting no: 28

Make no mistake, this is an excellent result for Unite members not only working in the Fujitsu but also in the IT industry, where workers are faced with dismissals, redundancies, cuts in pay and conditions and low levels of union membership. It shows that by planning, hard work and strategic organising IT workers are prepared to stand up and fight for decent pay and conditions and their union reps.

Latest news items: The Manufacturer; Crewe Guardian

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