Fujitsu UK employees working for HMRC to strike during self-assessment tax period over pay

More than 300 Fujitsu Services UK employees working for HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) are set to strike from 17 January 2024 in a protest over pay, potentially causing mass disruption to the IT systems underpinning the government agency’s self-assessment tax return process.

All of the participating employees are members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union, and are set to strike after rejecting a 3-4% pay rise from Fujitsu after learning that employees working for the company in Japan are being offered salary increases of up to 29%.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said the pay offer calls into question why the UK government continues to give “lucrative contracts” to a company that treats its UK workers worse than their overseas counterparts.

“Fujitsu made £22m profit last year in the UK, so it can afford to pay our members a decent wage – it just chooses not to,” he said. “Our government should be standing up for our members, demanding a fair pay rise in line with Japanese workers.”

The majority of the participating Fujitsu employees work for HMRC at its sites in Stratford and Telford, with the walkouts set to start from Wednesday 17 January, with Fujitsu employees that work on “critical” HMRC IT systems poised to take additional action between 18 January and 15 February 2024.

Computer Weekly understands the PCS notified Fujitsu about its members’ planned strike action on 2 January 2024, which will include the rolling out of overtime bans, and will see members working to rule and refusing to do on-call work.

In a statement, confirming the action, the PCS said the action is “likely to disrupt” people who are seeking to complete their self-assessment tax returns by the end of January.

Computer Weekly contacted HMRC to ask what measures it plans to put in place to mitigate the risk of the strike action causing disruption to its services, but no response had been received at the time of publication.

A spokesperson for Fujitsu told Computer Weekly, meanwhile, the company remains committed to continuing pay negotiations and resolving the situation with the PCS members.

“Fujitsu will be taking all necessary steps to ensure operational continuity for all our customers and are working closely with those customers throughout the planning process,” the spokesperson

News of the strike action comes amidst a testing time for Fujitsu. The company is facing widespread scrutiny by the media and politicians over the role its Horizon IT system played in the long-running Post Office scandal, which saw 736 subpostmasters convicted of crimes including theft and false accounting between 2000 and 2015.

The situation has been brought to national attention following the broadcast of a documentary and drama by ITV at the start of 2024.


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