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Fujitsu staff vote to strike over pay

Some staff still on £13,500 salary

Staff at Fujitsu across the UK, working in government departments, have voted to strike over pay.

Industrial action, expected to take place this month or next, will target a number of the Japanese IT services company's contracts with the government. These include HM Revenue and Customs, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, the Home Office, the Ministry of Defence and the Office for National Statistics.

The workers are members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) trade union, and have voted after the company made what the union calls an "insultingly low" pay offer.

Meanwhile, the Unite trade union will today announce the results of a separate ballot of staff in Manchester. That ballot concerns accusations that Fujitsu had not followed through on a pay offer agreed earlier in the year, as well as relating to the sacking of Alan Jennings, a Crewe-based union representative. Jennings' case was head in a tribunal last week, and the judge is reviewing the evidence.

In the PCS ballot, 65 percent of members who voted said they would strike, and a further 20 percent supported other forms of industrial action. Around two thirds of the union's 720 Fujitsu members turned out to vote.

The PCS said Fujitsu had either met or exceeded its performance targets on these contracts and several senior managers were receiving bonuses in excess of what some staff earn in a year.

Fujitsu has refused to increase a pay offer that will mean rises of between 1.5 percent and 2.5 percent, it said. The lowest paid staff earn just £13,500 a year.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "These staff support essential public services and it is time ministers stopped washing their hands of issues like low pay among their contractors."

A spokesperson at Fujitsu said the company was "disappointed" that the PCS "did not ask its members to vote on our pay offer, which we believe is a fair one".

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