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DWP IT contractors in strike ballot

Union: 'Tell management that enough is enough'

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HP contractors working for the Department for Work and Pensions will vote on whether to strike over job losses and pay.

More than 1,000 government IT contractors, working mainly for the DWP in locations around the UK including Newcastle, Washington, Preston and near Blackpool, are voting in a ballot which will run until 30 November 2009.

They will vote on whether to hold a series of two day strikes, to take action short of striking or not to take action.

Their union, the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), said that staff have been increasingly angry since HP Enterprise Services took over EDS in August 2008. Since then 3,400 staff have been cut across all operations, but employees now face a further 1,000 job losses and a pay freeze.

Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said of members: "Their reward is more job cuts, imposed pay freezes and pleas from the company to take a voluntary pay cut. We will be urging members to deliver a strong yes vote and tell management that enough is enough."

A spokesperson for the company said: "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."

Earlier in November Unite announced that its members working for Fujitsu in the Home Office, HM Revenue and Customs and other departments had voted to strike. However, the action was postponed after Fujitsu agreed to further discussions. The dispute is over 1,200 redundancies, a pay freeze and the closure of the firm's final salary pension scheme.

This article was originally published at Kable.

Kable's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

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