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Fujitsu workers to demonstrate at Tory party conference

Unite trade union also in discussions at ACAS

Unionised Fujitsu staff are set to protest tomorrow at the Conservative party conference in Manchester, as part of a long running dispute over pay and pensions, and over the treatment of a trade union representative.

As Fujitsu UK managing director Duncan Tait speaks at a meeting at the conference, company staff represented by the Unite trade union will strike over what the union calls "breaches of agreements" and "victimisation" of its representatives.

Fujitsu recently reached an agreement with the PCS, a separate union, offering staff a pay rise above inflation rates and preventing a strike. However, Unite and Fujitsu remain in dispute - and on 19 September some ninety Unite members at Fujitsu held a strike day, at which the PCS had planned to appear until its agreement was reached.

Unite said that in addition to the protests at the Tory conference, it had also organised picket lines outside Fujitsu offices in Manchester and Salford, the areas involved in the disputes.

"All members are urged to attend to ensure we send the strongest message possible that Fujitsu should resolve the dispute by honouring its agreements and stopping picking on reps", the union said in a bulletin to members on its website.

Today, Unite representatives are in discussions with Fujitsu in a meeting held by ACAS (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service), a dispute resolution body, as the parties attempt to reach a resolution. Part of the dispute centres around Alan Jenney, a union representative who was recently sacked.

Elsewhere in Stevenage, members are meeting to discuss concerns at Fujitsu, as well as to talk about Unite's structure and plans.

"Fujitsu staff say unfair pay and benefits is their top issue," said Unite. "Colleagues at other IT services companies report similar problems." The union is conducting a pay survey in order to ascertain how salaries compare between IT firms.

Fujitsu declined to comment on the protests, other than to say the company will "keep discussing" the options and that it was keen to find a resolution.

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