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Fujitsu UK workers vote to strike

Government IT services could be hit

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Union members at Fujitsu Services have voted for strike action over pensions, pay and job cuts.

The action is not yet decided. Senior Unite union reps are meeting today to decide the next move after 74 per cent of members who voted called for a walk out. Some 92 per cent agreed to industrial action short of a strike.

A spokesman for Fujitsu declined to comment beyond expressing "disappointment" at the results of the ballot, which has been running since 12 October. He said ongoing pension negotiations made it inappropriate to comment on potential industrial action.

The ballot followed decisions earlier this year to shut down Fujitsu's final salary pension scheme, impose a pay freeze and lay off 1,200 staff. The firm employs about 12,500 people across the country.

Peter Skyte, Unite's national officer for IT and communications, said: "Unite members are asking why they should lose their jobs and tighten their belts when last year the company paid out about £150m to shareholders and around £1.6m to two directors as compensation for loss of office.

"Fujitsu remains a highly profitable company and our members are insisting that the company must treat them fairly and increase pay, provide decent pensions, and consult meaningfully to minimise job losses and avoid compulsory redundancy."

The Public and Commercial Services union is also balloting its 850 Fujitsu members over the cuts.

A mass walkout at the firm could hit some vital public services. Fujitsu is a sub-contractor of HMRC's Aspire desktop IT project, and last month the Home Office extended its contract for IT services for 24,000 users, including at the UK Border Agency.

The firm's outsourcing rivals IBM and CSC have also angered staff by shutting their final salary pension schemes this year. ®

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