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HP thins UK support contract - sends hundreds of jobs to India

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Exclusive Hundreds of technical support workers in the UK will lose their jobs by October as a result of HP's decision to move more work to India, The Register can reveal.

In a game of offshore the outsourcer, HP has decided to cut off much of the work done with services outfit twenty4help and shift it over to a "global partner" in India, sources said. Between 200 and 300 twenty4help staffers in the UK and Ireland will likely be fired as a result. The first wave of firings will happen at the end of July when 40 percent of the call load heads to India. By the end of October, all the phones will go silent in the UK and Ireland.

Calls and e-mails to twenty4help were not returned. An HP spokeswoman said the company would not "comment on rumors and speculation" at this time.

These moves have triggered a wave of outrage as HP staffers and associates see a familiar pattern emerging with new CEO Mark Hurd. While at NCR, Hurd famously trimmed the company's bottom line by offering severance packages to well-paid older workers and by offshoring jobs.

Since his tenure at HP started, Hurd has looked on as close to 2,000 people accepted severance packages and now as already outsourced support work is being offshored to India.

The workers affected at twenty4help primarily handle qualifications technical support for HP's notebook, desktop, digital camera and printer products. Staffers taking sales and complaints calls should keep their jobs, our sources said.

The mood at twenty4help took a turn this morning as word of the firings broke out. Some workers handling printer support calls are reported to have gotten up from their desks and taken off to the pub.

"It's an utter disgrace," said one source. ®

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