More details of the job losses at IT outsourcer EDS and its parent company HP are expected to emerge on Friday, following Wednesday's announcement that 3,378 UK jobs will go over the next two years.
A spokeswoman for HP, which completed its acquisition of EDS in August, said meetings are taking place to determine where the cuts will fall, adding it's "too early to tell" where the job losses will occur in terms of specific government contracts.
According to the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), which represents more than 2,000 EDS staff in the UK, the services provider has contracts with the Ministry of Defence (MoD), the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), the Home Office and the Prison Service. With the MoD, EDS is the primary contractor in the Atlas consortium, which is delivering the £7.1bn Defence Information Infrastructure programme to provide a single information infrastructure serving the Army, Navy, Airforce and central command.
HP's spokeswoman told ZDNet.co.uk's sister site, silicon.com: "At the moment all we've done is announce the job roles in the UK that are going to be impacted for HP and EDS as a whole. How that then will break down into business groups — which part of EDS that will be affected etc — has yet to be determined… There are meetings ongoing today with the work employee representatives and that kind of granularity as to which parts of the business will be impacted will be discussed."
However, the spokeswoman said the service provided by EDS/HP won't be affected by the reduction of 3,378 staff, with redundancies focusing on those working in duplicate roles.
"The problem is there was some duplication between HP and EDS, so there's a crossover. In the past, HP and EDS were obviously going up against each other — they were competitors in the services area," she said.
"However, the work that's ongoing will not be impacted because you will have the same numbers of people working on those contracts, it just may be that it's HP as opposed to EDS employees but HP obviously has the same level of skill and experience."
The spokeswoman added: "I do not believe that the service that HP and EDS currently offers will be affected by these cuts. It's business as normal and the work that we do for our customers will continue and the same level of service will be provided. "
However, PCS's Jim Hanson, the national officer representing union members employed by EDS, is sceptical so many jobs can be eliminated without apparently having any impact on service delivery.
"I'm not convinced," he said. "Yes, there will be some job duplication but not to the extent of the 3,300 job cuts they're talking about."
Hanson added: "They've given us no details yet. If that is the case then that would be fine, I just don't believe there is that level of duplication in the organisations. They're talking about over… 20 percent of the [EDS UK] workforce. I simply don't believe that that's all duplication."
EDS has already been downsizing over the past 18 months, Hanson said, adding: "I think they've [HP] gone about it in the wrong way, they've come up with the numbers before going through the processes with us. It seems they've thought of a number first and then they're trying to justify it afterwards rather than the other way round."
HP's spokeswoman suggested it may be the case that some of the 3,378 job cuts will be HP staff, as the company has not yet announced how the cuts will be divided between EDS and HP. However, she added HP has previously said the majority of the global total of 24,000 job cuts it announced last month will hit EDS.
Along with CSC, Fujitsu, IBM and Thales, EDS is also one of five strategic suppliers for the Identity and Passport Service's (IPS) National Identity Scheme, signing a framework agreement with the IPS back in June. The five suppliers will compete in procurement exercises for contracts to deliver National Identity Scheme capabilities.
EDS also provides the majority of ICT services for the National Offender Management Service, which includes HM Prison Service, under the Quantum agreement — a £200m private finance initiative contract that runs until mid-2012, as well as holding a contract with the DWP for ongoing maintenance of the child support computer system — an agreement that runs until 2010.
As well as its London HQ, the services provider has more than 200 sites in the UK, employing some 16,500 staff in total.