Unite union claims that IT services company Fujitsu may have selected “a disproportionate number of women, part-time and ethnic minority workers” for redundancy, as the fourth day of strike action came to a close yesterday.
Unite say it has identified “major discrepancies in redundancy scoring and selection” in the company’s Application Services capability unit, which has around 1,500 employees out of a total Fujitsu UK workforce of around 11,500.
The union has disclosed the following redundancy selection and scoring data for the unit:
- 6.7% of women were selected for compulsory redundancy, compared to 3.7% of men;
- 10.4% of Indians were selected, as against 3.9% for all other groups;
- 9.1% of part-timers (those working less than 35 hours per week) were selected, compared to 3.9% for full-timers;
- The company awarded a score of “4” (the highest) on the “critical skills” criterion to 4.46% of women and 18.41% of men. The probability of this distribution happening by chance in an unbiased scoring is 0.00000002% (about one in 40,000,000). This is several times less likely than getting six numbers on the UK Lotto on the first attempt;
- The company awarded low (0 to 2) scores for the “critical skills” criterion to 59.3% of part-time workers, compared to 35.1% of full-time workers. The probability of this distribution happening by chance in an unbiased scoring is 0.001% (approximately 1 in 130,000); &
- The company awarded low (0 to 2.5) scores for the “business considerations and commitments” criterion to 21.63% of white employees and 43.38% of non-white employees. The probability of this distribution happening by chance in an unbiased scoring is 0.000008% (approximately 1 in 12,000,000).
The company has refused to provide data for the other five parts of the company that were put at risk of redundancy.
Peter Skyte, Unite national officer for IT and communications, said: “We are disturbed to find that a disproportionate number of women, part-time and ethnic minority workers appear to have been selected for redundancy at Fujitsu, but have had no meaningful response from the company to our queries on this.
“This strengthens our case for a fairer, open and more transparent pay system which we also suspect may be masking potential discrimination.”
Unite has scheduled two more days of strike action on 14-15 January over proposals for 1,000 redundancies in the UK, a pay freeze imposed last year, and plans by the company to close the main final salary pension scheme to future accrual, reducing the total pay package of each affected employee by around 20%.
It highlights Fujitsu Services continues to make substantial profits – £200 million pre-tax in 2008 – while the parent company is cash-rich, having raised over $900 million from a share sale.
Peter Skyte says: “Other IT companies are dealing with similar issues in a much more constructive way and the approach taken by Fujitsu to date treats its highly skilled workforce as a disposable commodity rather than its most important asset.”
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