Fujitsu Services faces strike over final-salary pension

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The Independent Online

Fujitsu Services faces strike action over plans to cut staff, close its final-salary pension scheme and impose a pay freeze.

The Japanese electronics giant revealed its intention to cut 1,200 of its 12,500 staff and close the pension scheme to future accrual last week.

Some 4,000 staff members will be hit by the plan, which reduces employees' total pay packages by 15 per cent, says the trade union Unite. In the wake of the announcement, 87 per cent of Unite's Fujitsu members have voted in favour of a strike to fight the proposals, with 96 per cent in favour of industrial action short of a strike.

Peter Skyte, from Unite, said: "Fujitsu Services is not struggling or failing. It is a highly profitable company but one which is seeking to take advantage of the recession to attack jobs, pay, pensions and conditions."

Fujitsu Services is just the latest major corporation to take the axe to its final-salary pension. Only four FTSE 100 companies – Shell, Tesco, Cadbury and Diageo – still have schemes open to new members after low interest rates, poor equity returns and rising life expectancy sent costs ballooning.

In June, BP announced plans to close its $18bn (£11bn), 69,000-member scheme to new recruits from April 2010. And Barclays sparked outrage over similar proposals. John Varley, the bank's chief executive, blamed the depressed stock market, which took the company's UK Retirement Fund from a £200m surplus to a £2.2bn deficit in less than a year.