Fujitsu UK.gov workers cast votes on strike threat
Autumn of discontent
Fujitsu staff working on Aspire and other major government IT contacts are being balloted on industrial action.
The ballot covers 850 IT support staff who are members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union working at HM Revenue and Customs, the Home Office, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, the Office for National Statistics, and the Ministry of Defence.
"Our members provide support for all those departments," Gwyn Parry, negotiating officer for the PCS's commercial sector, told GC News. "In the DVLA, for example, they provide support for the driving licence system, at HMRC they support pay systems and tax enquiry services at local offices."
The strike ballot, which began on 15 October 2009, is over a pay freeze and proposals to close final salary pensions schemes. But the biggest issue, according to Parry, is Fujitsu's announcement to cut 1,200 jobs in the UK.
The Unite union, whose members are also affected by the proposed cuts, is holding a concurrent ballot.
"We are both quite confident that we are going to get a big 'yes' vote for strike action and action short of a strike," said Parry. "The unions will then make a decision on what the action will be."
He said that a central concern for the PCS is the impact of the Fujitsu's decision on front line government services.
Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said: "Our members are backing our campaign for quality jobs, quality working conditions and quality public services. They are not prepared to stand by while essential services are starved of proper funding."
The ballot closes on 29 October and the result will be announced shortly after.
A spokesperson for Fujitsu said that it was premature to comment because the company is still in consultations about pensions and the proposed cuts in headcount.
This article was originally published at Kable.
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