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Workplace News: Unite

Fujitsu workers vote for strike action

Workers at Fujitsu have voted overwhelmingly for strike action against attempts by management to close the main final salary pension scheme, which would amount to a 15% pay cut. 96% voted in favour of industrial action short of a strike and 87% voted for in favour of strike action in the consultative ballot. Fujitsu want to sack workers only to re-emlpoy them on worse pension conditions. This is the last straw for these workers who have already had a planned pay rise withdrawn earlier this year. 1,200 redundancies were announced in August, which will see the workforce shrink by 10%. The fact that Fujitsu is still a highly profitable company, making £200 million profits last year, which has also made workers even more determined to stand up for their rights.

SUPPORT THE NORTEL WORKERS

7 August 09

- No more job losses
- Nortel must pay workers every penny owed - no payments to banks or bonuses to bosses until workers receive at least full pensions and proper redundancy
- Stop the pensions robbery
- Save Monkstown plant from closure - Assembly must nationalise plant if closure threatened

Nortel workers deserve the support of all workers and trade unions in their battle for justice. These workers have been treated like dirt by the fat cat bosses of this highly profitable multi-national company. More than two hundred workers have been sacked across the UK, with barely any notice, without any redundancy payments, no stautory notice payouts and have had their pensions stolen by the company.

Like many workers today, they have been made pay the price for the economic crisis which the rich bankers, speculators and bosses have created. As of June 2009, Nortel had reserves of $2.5 billion, with $400million in the UK subsidiary. The money is there to pay redundancy for workers and their pensions, yet the administrators refuse to pay workers what they’re owed.

In February, Nortel created a bonus fund of $43million per quarter. This has been used to pay massive bonuses to senior executives. And what about the workers who have created all this wealth in the first place? They are expected to accept losing their jobs, with no compensation whatsoever! Rightly, Nortel workers are not accepting this. Workers have been protesting outside the plant in Monkstown and the administrators offices (Ernst & Young) in Belfast demanding the company pays up.

Which way forward?
Nortel workers find themselves in a similar position to the Visteon workers. One of the differences is that instead of shutting down the plant suddenly, Nortel have chosen to sack workers gradually over months in order to avoid workers taking the approach workers at Visteon took and occupying the plant. The remaining workforce must anticipate managements intentions to close the plant and prepare now to take action, including the possibility of occupying the factory. Management must not be allowed to remove the machinery from the plant. The disappointing lack of lead from the leadership of the Unite union is to be regretted. But if a stand was to be taken in Belfast and a call made to the rest of the Nortel workforce in the UK to take action, then it is possible to build support to keep the factory open. If Nortel cannot guarantee the future of the Monkstown plant, then the campaign must be taken to the doorsteps of Stormont with the demand that the Assembly should nationalise the plant to save much needed jobs.

We need fighting, democratic unions
The majority of trade union leaders today are unfortunately not willing or capable of fighting on behalf of members. Many of them are on the same wages as those of the bosses and are completely out of touch with workers. The Socialist Party campaigns within the unions for fighting democratic unions with union officials regularly elected by the members and to receive only the wages of those they represent.