Fujitsu job losses: Belfast and Derry due to be hit as part of 1,800 staff cuts across UK
Jobs in Belfast and Londonderry could be lost as part of 1,800 staff cuts across technology giant Fujitsu.
Fujitsu is planning a "transformation programme" which will result in a reduction of up to 1,800 jobs in the UK, its workers have been told.
Unite said workers will be affected at Fujitsu's major sites which include Belfast, Londonderry, Bracknell, Crewe, Londonderry, Manchester, Stevenage, Wakefield and Warrington
The Japanese multinational information technology equipment and services company said it wanted to streamline operations to remain competitive.
Unite said the move was a "hammer blow" for workers who have "given their all" to make the UK subsidiary highly profitable.
The announcement is not linked to the vote to leave the EU, and is not driven by any domestic issues.
No jobs will go as a result of the programme until 2017.
The company said: "Fujitsu is planning a transformation program that will enable it to better support customers in the era of digital transformation.
"The company today advised its employee representative forum of plans to restructure the organisation in order to provide better service and respond more quickly to customer needs.
"As part of the programme, Fujitsu plans to streamline operations in order to remain competitive in the market.
"Proposed measures include changes which would result in a reduction of up to 1,800 jobs in the UK. All affected employees will be offered guidance and support and Fujitsu is establishing a consultation process with elected employee representatives."
DUP Economy Minister Simon Hamilton said: "This is a worrying time for Fujitsu staff in Belfast and Londonderry. I have spoke to management today and intend to engage with senior decision makers in Japan in the the days and weeks ahead to emphasise to them the highly skilled workforce that exist in Northern Ireland as well as the competitive costs and strong Government support that makes the region a good place for their company to continue to invest in."
Ulster Unionist Economy Spokesperson, Steve Aiken MLA, said: "Fujitsu employs over 1,000 people and contributes approximately £20million in salaries to the local economy each year. The announcement therefore that it is to cut 1,800 jobs across the UK may mean significant losses here in Northern Ireland.
"This announcement comes only months after it was revealed that Fujitsu was closing their repair centre in my own constituency of South Antrim with the loss of 40 jobs.
"Questions will be asked as to why within less than three years after they initially announced over 190 new job positions in Northern Ireland, and benefited from £990,000 of public support from Invest NI, this is the second round of potential Fujitsu job losses in such a short period of time."
SDLP South Belfast MP Alasdair McDonnell said: "This news will cause grave anxiety among the Fujitsu employees here particularly when we saw the loss of 40 jobs from the same company in Antrim earlier this year. I encourage Fujitsu to act quickly to put put people’s minds at ease as they make their decisions.
"While these potential job losses are part of Fujitsu’s wider restructuring across the UK, the people of Northern Ireland are rightly concerned that news of major job losses here is coming on a far too regular basis.
"Simon Hamilton has said he will try his best to ensure the jobs are not lost here but the DUP have proved themselves incapable of convincing large companies to remain in Northern Ireland.
"The DUP and Sinn Féin are now way past the first 100 days of this mandate and are yet to take meaningful action on these job losses. They must now back the SDLP’s call for a manufacturing strategy to increase the number of skilled jobs here."
Unite national officer Ian Tonks said: "This is a hammer blow for these hard-working employees who have given their all to make the UK subsidiary highly profitable.
"It is not good news for the UK economy as the company says that it intends to offshore many of these jobs, with increased automation also responsible for job losses.
"Fujtsu's main UK subsidiary made £85.6 million profit last year and we see no reason for these job losses. Unite will be doing its utmost to fight for these jobs, as well as giving our members maximum support at this very worrying time."
The announcement comes as Fujitsu staff in Manchester are voting in an industrial action ballot over pay, pensions and job security.
Unite claims that the company has been cutting pay rates, despite healthy profits and is failing to tackle a significant gender pay gap.
The ballot result is expected on October 19.