HP faces first ever UK strike action
Big name customers could suffer if staff walk out
HP faces possible strike action from some of its employees in the UK, after trade union Unite announced a vote among its 150 customer engineers, whose jobs are being shifted to a subsidiary firm.
If the strike gets the go-ahead, it will be the first of its kind at HP, which in the past two years has undergone dramatic job culls in a move to cut costs at the computer vendor.
Unite said in a statement that it had begun a ballot that covers home-based customer engineers and support specialists who operate across the UK for HP.
Staff are angry about being shunted over to HP’s subsidiary company HP CDS at the start of next month. Unite claimed the computer giant is removing pay and pension benefits, including a performance bonus scheme worth up to £2,000 and a final salary pension scheme.
"This is HP's highest level of support for its biggest customers - and they're going to be seriously hacked off if there is a strike. It is staggering how the engineers are staying positive when they're being treated like garbage," an ex-HP insider told The Register.
The union said it had served HP seven days notice of the ballot, which kicks off today. The outcome of the vote will be announced in the middle of November, added Unite.
Unite said it had asked workers to vote after a consultative ballot at the start of October came out in support of HP workers downing tools. The computer maker employs around 18,000 staff in the UK.
"Our members face cuts to their pay and pensions and have no choice other than to begin an industrial action ballot,” said Unite national officer Peter Skyte.
“This is the latest in a series of attacks by the company on our members' pay and conditions, while senior executives and shareholders do very well indeed.”
He added that the union was willing to talk to HP to “seek a resolution to this dispute... but not on the basis that one employee’s pay cut results in an HP executive’s pay and bonus increase.”
A HP company spokesman echoed Unite's stance on looking for ways of settling the spat to avoid action.
"HP respects the rights of its employees to be part of a union. We will evaluate the situation as soon as the result of the local ballot is available. We will continue to maintain a dialogue with the union in an attempt to avoid any form of industrial action," he told El Reg. ®
HP BS and the Fantasy of Capitalism
Funny how cutting costs means job losses for employees... yet big fat pay raises for executives.
HP CEO Mark Hurd made everyone take (at least) a 5% pay cut and claimed to lead the way by volunteering to take a 20% cut. Very noble, I thought... but later learned that was just to his base pay, meaning about a 0.68% cut of his total pay. Our Great Leader deliberately misled all of us, about a third of a million people.
Meanwhile, some people in my group and I are getting FIRED from HP for reasons that have to do with a product we don't even work on... no severance and no unemployment, and I live in a underdeveloped nation just south of Canada in which it's perfectly legal to do this.
A note to people saying, "Well, that's just capitalism. That's business. You're just a bunch of whiners. You don't like it, then go somewhere else."
So if you pay for, say, cable internet service, and they just never hook it up, do you just think to yourself, "Ah yes, one of the great lessons of capitalism. I have now learned this particular company takes your money and runs. I will do the bidding of my beloved capitalism by taking my mighty money to one of their competitors, and then they'll be sorry! It is great being the customer, having all the power in this wonderful system. If the Gods of Capitalism smile upon me, I won't run out of money before I find an internet provider who will actually connect me."?
Your fantasy of pure capitalism thankfully does not exist. It is (and must be) tempered by regulation, things like worker and consumer (and yes even business) protections. It is exactly the nature of capitalism to exploit everything that can be exploited, eroding or preferably destroying worker and consumer choice and rights. Read "The Jungle" to see just a glimpse of what capitalism wants to be.
Good Old HP
Good Old HP
...ceased to be the day that foul harridan Fiorina decided to pay waaaay over the odds for a brand called Compaq. She (we) bought: market share; a bunch of crap senior managers many of whom stayed on to continue to wreak havoc; a bunch of ridiculous processes and practices; and the end of the Bill and Dave era. For good. What went on in the Clean Room changed everything and there no going back. Daimler Benz got smart and demerged with Chrysler. HP was just no that smart. It is called hubris.
It is actually Lew Platt's mistake in hiring her in first place and thereby enabling her whole Fat Cat culture - which has dealt platitudes to the once loyal employees, whilst lining the execs pockets and promoting a bunch of inept middle managers. The hiring of bean counter Hurd, who has no business growth strategies beyond more expensive crap companies (EDS, Systar, StorageApps etc), and relentless cost cutting exercises. He has no other answers but will continue to fatten until he too is thrown out.
HP used to have and go it's own way and created markets in doing so. I worked there for 15 years and was releived to finally take the package. To those employees grumbling - leave!
For the Synstar folk - I sat near you in the HP Bristol office for a few years and listened to you at work. I would not complain too loudly, you have had an easy ride compared to many HPers. That's changed too. Deal with it. A strike will do you no good whatsoever.
The comment elsewhere on the Unite subscriptions is right on the money. They want middle class, middle income members. That is how their execs will get fat too.
Glad I am just a share holder these days.
I guess when Hurd finally goes (next year?) He will probably waste VJ and Livermoore beforehand. HP will get a patriach figure at the helm again. I can see it'"Back to basics", "The Classic HP Way is back for Customers and stakeholders" Blah Blah Blah.
Should be fun for anyone left who really cares about that business. David Attenborough and Stephen Fry could do a series about them. LOL
I do have great symapthy for the many loyal HPers shafted, but this is a grave new world, and yes, that sound is Bill and Dave spinning in their graves.
Paging Matt Bryant #2
It is seems really odd, but whenever a bad press about HP comes out, Matty disappears like a ninja.
Oh wait... is he busy doing paperwork to sign CDS contracts?
Poor Matt... waiting him to come back from shadows (if he ever does)