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Fujitsu strikers determined to save jobs and pensions
A delegation from Warrington trades council visited the Unite members picketing at Fujitsu's Warrington site on 1 February.
The strikers cover a wide range of occupations - distribution, warehouse, engineering, recycling and sales - and there was real anger at the spectacle of Fujitsu making huge profits while simultaneously cutting benefits for the workforce to a minimum.
"£192 million they made in profit last year, but there's people been here for eight years who are only on £12,000 a year" said one striker. "And two directors got £1.6 million between them when they left the company!"
Pay for the workforce has been frozen after these huge profits and payouts for top management.
"Normally we get a glossy brochure when the annual report comes out, not this year though! It's as if they wanted to hide the figures".
Another issue is that Fujitsu put 6,000 staff 'at risk of redundancy', modified now to 1,200 following the strong reaction from the union. Discussions are continuing.
And if all this wasn't enough the company are also messing with the pension scheme.
Pickets explained how, despite the lack of union recognition, they have been gradually building the union.
They were confident of passing the 50% membership mark soon, at which point they have a legal right to the union being recognised.
The pickets were cheerful and determined. A lot of money has come in donations to the strike fund and support was good from passing motorists.
This is the first national dispute in the IT sector in the UK. It is also an important dispute as it proves that unions can organise and grow in 'new' industries in the private sector.
In The Socialist 3 February 2010:
War and occupation
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Youth fight for jobs
Socialist Party news and analysis
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
Socialist Party workplace news
International socialist news and analysis