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Fujitsu cuts half of UK-based Oracle practice team

Fujitsu is reducing staffing levels at its UK Oracle Practice in a move cited as ensuring its competitiveness

Fujitsu is making job cuts in its UK-based Oracle Practice as the company attempts to reduce costs and increase competitiveness amid the fallout of the Post Office scandal it played a part in.

The move comes after the Japanese IT giant told UK staff in April that about 100 sales, pre-sales and logistics jobs were to be cut, as the UK business outlook declined.

About 60 jobs – over half the current Oracle Practice team – will go, but Fujitsu said the delivery of Oracle services to UK customers would not be affected.

“As part of ongoing activity to ensure its competitive positioning, Fujitsu can confirm the intent to reduce its UK-located Oracle Practice by approximately 60 roles,” said the IT firm.

“A consultation process will run over the coming months for employees impacted by this change, with redeployment of colleagues as appropriate,” it added.

Fujitsu said it remains committed to the Oracle services market in the UK.

The latest announcement follows the news in April that Fujitsu was cutting about 100 jobs in the UK as the fallout from its central role in the Post Office scandal hit its sales pipeline. The IT supplier has put nearly 70 members of staff at risk of redundancy and about 30 are leaving. Sales, pre-sales and logistics jobs are affected.

A month earlier, Fujitsu told staff it would no longer seek new business in its Republic of Ireland operation, instead focusing on fulfilling existing contracts.

The company has come under heavy criticism and scrutiny in the UK after ITV’s dramatisation of the Post Office Horizon scandalMr Bates vs the Post Office, which aired at the beginning of the year.

Fujitsu has provided the Horizon software and support to the Post Office and subpostmasters since 1999. The software had major defects that caused accounting shortfalls, for which subpostmasters were blamed, with many wrongly prosecuted as a result. Fujitsu played a role in helping the Post Office hide knowledge of errors from subpostmasters, blaming the users instead.

Between 1999 and 2015, hundreds of subpostmasters and branch staff were wrongly prosecuted by the Post Office and convicted for accounting shortfalls, which were proved in the High Court in 2018/19 to have been caused by Horizon errors. Many more were financially ruined.

In January this year, Fujitsu’s European boss, Paul Patterson, promised to stop bidding for government work until after the completion of the statutory public inquiry into the Post Office scandal. 

There could be more financial challenges ahead in the UK, with MPs demanding that Fujitsu helps to cover the huge costs associated with the Horizon scandal – something that Patterson agreed Fujitsu was morally obligated to do.

One insider, who wished to remain anonymous, told Computer Weekly that morale is low in Fujitsu’s UK business.

The Post Office scandal was first exposed by Computer Weekly in 2009, revealing the stories of seven subpostmasters and the problems they suffered due to issues with the accounting software (see timeline of Computer Weekly articles about the scandal below). 

• Also read: What you need to know about the Horizon scandal

• Also watch: ITV’s documentary – Mr Bates vs The Post Office: The real story

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