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Fujitsu workers call off Tory party conference protest

Demo today cancelled after ACAS talks

Staff at Fujitsu, represented by trade union Unite, have called off a strike and a demonstration at the Conservative party conference today.

The decision was prompted by the company and the trade union reaching an agreement geared around better communication and further talks over pay and pensions.

A demonstration had been planned for the conference in Manchester, while Fujitsu UK managing director Duncan Tait made a speech. Fujitsu, which has some large public sector contracts, also had an exhibition stand at the conference.

The dispute concerns what the union calls "breaches of agreements" and the alleged "victimisation" of its representatives. There had also been plans for picket lines outside Fujitsu offices in Manchester and Salford, the areas involved in the dispute, and these have also been cancelled.

According to an agreement reached yesterday, Unite said its members at Fujitsu would not strike as long as Fujitsu committed to a number of terms. These included "no recrimination" for staff who have participated in earlier industrial action.

The agreement came after the parties met yesterday with ACAS (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service), a dispute resolution body. They have committed to meet again with ACAS this month.

By 17 October, Fujitsu will implement the contractual status of its pension plan for all existing UK members, and continue to provide pay information to the union. It will also stick to several pay and out-of-hours conditions for the Wintel team, as well as addressing redeployment concerns of staff at the closed MAN23 site.

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 and Fujitsu declined to comment.

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