Fujitsu revealed its pay scales to some of its UK staff on Friday allowing them to check for the first time if they are being paid the going rate - but employees not signed up to union Amicus will have to keep guessing.
Union staff can now see whether they are earning as much as anyone in a similar post. As managers in the IT sector prefer to keep individual pay deals secret, other staff have been left to fend for themselves.
"We have a situation here which is quite common in IT companies where there are no pay scales," a source at Fujitsu said.
"So people don't know what the going rate is and that puts them in a difficult position because the management have all the cards, all the information, and all the power."
Amicus has been campaigning for a transparent pay structure at Fujitsu for a number of years, but the employer refused to co-operate.
The union took matters into its own hands and, after conducting its own limited pay audits in 2004 and 2005, started enforcing its legal right to transparency.
It applied to the Central Arbitration Committee last June to get information that would even out the sides in pay talks. This right is given to recognised unions. Amicus is recognised in the Manchester offices of Fujitsu.
The Register understands that Fujitsu agreed to share pay scales with the union on the condition that they would not be shared with union members. Only union negotiators would get to see them. In March, just before the CAC hearing, Fujitsu capitulated.
The firm refused to comment. A spokesman said it was policy not to discuss matters relating to staff with other people. Till now, that did include other staff, or the union.®