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MPs guide Fujitsu workers back to talks

The commons touch

Fujitsu is to return to talks with disgruntled IT staff after MPs offered to mediate in the long-running dispute and staff called off strike action.

IT workers at Fujistu's Manchester offices had planned a national picket of an un-named Fujitsu customer on Saturday 17 March and another strike tomorrow, Tuesday. Both were called off and the six-day a month strike action they had balloted for also suspended.

A spokesman for Fujitsu said today: "Fujitsu are pleased that there are no strikes in the pipeline so we can go forward with negotiations."

Union members had been persuaded by a group of five Labour MPs to suspend their strike action so there was a chance of reconvening talks. Fujitsu staff organised by Amicus, the union, have spent 12 days on strike since November and Fujitsu has walked away from talks twice.

In a letter sent last week to David Courtley, chief executive of Fujitsu Services, five MPs offered to mediate in the dispute.

"Given the concerns of our constituents and the fact that Fujitsu is a major supplier of IT services to the government, we are keen to see a swift resolution to the dispute," said the letter.

"We are therefore seeking an urgent meeting between you, a senior officer from Amicus, and members of both negotiating teams, to see if we can broker proper dialogue and help to resolve this situation," it said.

An effort to have the matter debated in Parliament would also be shelved, said the letter, which was signed by Tony Lloyd, MP for Manchester Central, Graham Stringer, MP for Blackley, Ivan Lewis, MP for Bury South, David Crausby, MP for Bolton North East, and Helen Southworth, MP for Warrington South.

The MPs had not yet received a reply from Fujitsu, said Lloyd's office.®

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