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Union reps victimised

‘Discrimination’ sparks strike action at Fujitsu in Manchester
Shaun Noble, Thursday, January 11th, 2018

More than 250 Unite members in Manchester have voted for 11 days of strike action at IT giant Fujitsu in one of the longest running industrial disputes in the UK.

One of the features of this dispute has been a ‘victimisation culture’ of union reps, which has included the dismissal of Unite rep of 26 years standing Ian Allinson.

To highlight this culture, there will be a show of support for Ian Allison at the Fujitsu site in Manchester M40 5BP between 1pm and 1.30pm tomorrow (January 12).

“On Tuesday (January 9), while I was on compassionate leave for a family funeral, Fujitsu sent me a letter telling me that I will be dismissed tomorrow (January 12) after more than 30 years’ service, including 26 as a union rep,” Ian Allison explained.

“Despite having an outstanding internal job application which Fujitsu has not responded to, the company is not allowing me to work my notice.”

Unite members in Manchester have voted by 54 per cent for strike action and by 71 per cent for industrial action short of a strike in the dispute that embraces victimisation of union reps, breaches of the redundancy agreement and compulsory redundancies.

A three-day strike will start at just after midnight on January 24, ending at 11.59pm on January 26. There will be a 24-hour strike on January 30, which will be followed by a week-long strike starting at just after midnight on February 8, concluding at 11.59pm on February 14. This will be coupled with a work to rule from January 24 to April 17.

Unite national officer for the IT sector Louisa Bull said, “Our members in Manchester have had more than enough and will be taking 11 days of strike action. This victimisation culture must cease immediately.

“These strikes could be averted, if senior Fujitsu bosses made a sea-change to their antediluvian attitude to modern employment relations and sat down and negotiated in a constructive fashion.

“This union has worked tirelessly to reach a reasonable and fair solution to this dispute.

“However, not only does the company not want to listen, it has backtracked on previous commitments. Its highly alarming treatment of union representatives speaks for itself.”

The strikes come after the failure of talks between Duncan Tait, Fujitsu’s head of Americas, Europe, Middle East, India and Africa and Unite general secretary Len McCluskey at the end of last year.

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