HP Enterprise Services engineers in the north-west and north-east of the UK have begun a two-day strike over job security and pay freeze.
Around 1,100 Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) members are striking on Monday and Tuesday this week, in the first action over the matter since a one-day strike in January. This week's industrial action is separate from the wider two-day PCS strike that is taking place over civil servants' pay.
The HP dispute dates back to job cuts — already numbering 3,400 and with a further 1,000 to follow this year, according to PCS estimates — that followed the company's acquisition of EDS in 2008. Those striking are mostly contract workers for the Ministry of Defence, the Department for Work and Pensions, and General Motors.
PCS national officer Paul Barnsley told ZDNet UK on Monday that the members in question had not had a pay review for two years. He said HP had offered them raises of around five percent over the next two years, but only in exchange for less leave and more working hours.
Barnsley noted that HP had offered not to make any compulsory redundancies until October this year, but said this leads to the union to believe compulsory redundancies would follow that date.
Apart from the job cut and pay freeze, Barnsley said a third reason for the industrial action was HP's lack of union recognition for workers on standard contracts. The company only recognises members who were transferred from the civil service to posts at EDS or HP.
According to a statement from the PCS, the HP Enterprise Services industrial action "continues to attract more new [PCS] members in the affected branches [as] many former EDS employees are deeply unhappy at the way they are being treated by the new employers".