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HP staff stage one-day strike

More than 1,000 staff are taking industrial action following the breakdown of talks with HP over job losses and a pay freeze
Written by Matthew Broersma, Contributor

More than 1,000 staff at HP Enterprise Services are taking part in a one-day strike on Friday as the result of a dispute over pay and job losses.

The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) announced the industrial action on Thursday after talks on the matter broke down.

The staff involved work for HP's Enterprise Services division at sites in Newcastle, Washington, Preston and the Fylde Coast. They are mainly contract workers for the Department for Work and Pensions, as well as the Ministry of Defence and General Motors, according to the union.

The dispute relates to ongoing job cuts across the UK that followed HP's takeover of services company EDS in August 2008. EDS was renamed HP Enterprise Services following the purchase. Since the acquisition, HP has laid off 3,400 employees and a further 1,000 job cuts are scheduled for the first four months of this year, PCS said.

The strikers are also protesting against a pay freeze that was imposed for 2009 and 2010.

"Strike action is not a step that our members take lightly," said PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka in a statement. "They have worked hard to help the company deliver fourth-quarter revenues of $30.8bn [£19bn], yet have been slapped in the face with job losses and a pay freeze for two years running."

HP said it had put a "reasonable offer" on the table, but that this was rejected without a counter-offer being proposed.

"In co-operation with our clients, we have put together a plan to mitigate the impact of the action on Friday," HP said in a statement. "This will include reducing non-urgent project work and moving resources to ensure all critical work is prioritised."

The company said it is continuing talks with the union to avoid future strike action.

In November, HP engineers in the Unite union voted to strike over the loss of pension benefits and pay reductions.

Unite this week announced six days of strikes by Fujitsu Services staff over redundancies and changes to the company's pension plan.

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