Belfast Telegraph

Fujitsu: Northern Ireland cutbacks ‘minimal’

By Symon Ross

Fujitsu workers in Northern Ireland are likely to emerge relatively unscathed from the company’s plans to axe 1,200 jobs from its UK operations.

The Japanese IT systems and services company, which employs 12,500 workers in the UK, including 715 in Northern Ireland, said the cuts were being made “reluctantly” because of lower than expected revenues.

A spokesman said the cutbacks to its services arm would have minimal effect on its workforce in the province.

“Although it may have some effect in Northern Ireland it is unlikely to be significant,” the spokesman said.

The proposed job cuts are expected to be complete by the end of 2009 following a statutory 90-day consultation with employees.

In a statement it said: “Action is necessary to ensure that the company remains competitive in the current difficult global economic climate and is in a solid position for future growth when the economy starts to recover.”

In 2007 Fujitsu announced an £18m investment in a new managed IT services centre, to which Invest NI contributed £5.7m. It was to have resulted in a total of 400 new jobs by the end of 2009 — 328 in Londonderry and 74 in Belfast. It has so far recruited 160 people in Londonderry.

In May last year it announced another £9m investment backed by Invest NI, and plans for another 150 jobs at its centre of excellence at Timber Quay in Derry.

The spokesman said the firm has not changed its plans for its two Northern Ireland sites. Peter

Skyte, national officer at Unite, said: “These proposed redundancies are unwarranted given this company made £200m in profit last year.

“Unite is seeking detailed information about the reasons for this proposal and the areas affected and will be doing everything possible to protect the jobs of the highly skilled workforce.”

Earlier this month the Unite union said it would ballot staff at Fujitsu about industrial action over the company’s plans to close its defined benefit pension scheme.

Belfast Telegraph