Union intervention secures nine Fujitsu jobs


Swift intervention by the CWU has secured the jobs of nine Fujitsu members who’d been placed at risk of being TUPE’d out of the company following the shock loss of a Marks & Spencer contract.

TUPE protections would have meant little to the six Birmingham and three Belfast-based workers who’d been placed ‘in scope’, as the German company that will take over the repair of M&S tills from September 1 – Diebold Nixdorf – had already confirmed it will not be conducting the work in Birmingham or Northern Ireland.

“In situations such as this, TUPE protections are barely worth the paper they’re written on as, although the individuals technically transfer with their jobs, those affected can be asked to commute to somewhere it is physically impossible to get to – meaning that, in reality, a redundancy situation is triggered,” explains assistant secretary John East.

“It’s not yet clear where exactly Diebold Nixdorf will be conducting the work but, if it doesn’t go to Germany, the only other possible locations where Diebold Nixdorf has UK sites are in Bracknell, Dartford and Milton Keynes – none of which are even remotely commutable for comparatively low-wage employees in Birmingham or Northern Ireland.”

As such, last week’s announcement looked set to be the precursor of a major job security threat – prompting the union to lobby Fujitu hard to reconsider the necessity of a TUPE at all.

“We vociferously made the case that we believe there’s enough work in Fujitsu to keep the individuals gainfully employed on account of two new contracts that are already in the pipeline – making the point that it would be insane for nine loyal and highly experienced employees to be TUPE’d into a certain redundancy situation, only for Fujitsu to then have to recruit and train replacements in the very near future,” continues John.

“From the outset it was clear that the operational managers we deal with at both sites were sympathetic to the case the CWU was making, and I’d like to personally thank them for their own discussions with higher-level management that has resulted in our members being taken out of scope of TUPE”.

The positive outcome mirrors a situation that occurred in 2015 when a previous contract loss resulted in work that had been carried out by Fujitsu at its former site in Antrim being transferred to Aylesham in Kent.

“At that time we had a ludicrous situation where minimum wage employees who’d been placed ‘in scope’ were being told they could transfer with their jobs to a far more expensive part of the country – something that clearly wasn’t going to be practical or affordable for any of those affected,” concludes John.

“Following constructive discussion with Fujitsu we ended up in a situation where everyone who wanted to remain working for Fujitsu was able to do – and I’m relieved we’ve been able to achieve the same outcome this time round.”