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Union warns of strike action against HP

Plans to offshore 200 jobs meet stiff opposition

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Around 200 Hewlett-Packard workers who provide IT services support to the Department for Work and Pensions in the North of England could see their jobs move overseas before the year is out.

That's the claim being made by the Public and Commercial Services Union, which represents 2,000 HP staff in the UK.

Proposals to offshore the work to India are said to be at an "advanced stage", but await approval from the Cabinet Office, said the PCS.

The union added that work on transferring knowledge to Bangalore could be underway as soon as August this year. The PCS said jobs could shift to India by November 2011.

It argued that such a move was "a false economy" as it offered only "limited savings on IT" that "would be overshadowed by the costs to the taxpayer".

The PCS claimed that tax revenues would be lost and that increased benefit payments would need to be met to help those HP workers laid off as a result of the offshoring process.

"The government must not allow low-paid jobs to be offshored. It will be a disaster for UK workers and the taxpayer and will only ensure that Hewlett Packard's shareholders reap the benefits," said the union's general secretary Mark Serwotka, who added that the PCS was yet to outrule strike action against HP.

HP told The Register that it was consulting on the transfer of some jobs to its operations in India, and expected the reshuffle to be completed by next year.

"HP is transforming its global delivery strategy and has continued to improve the quality and cost-competitiveness of services to clients by expanding our global delivery footprint.

"We have begun consultation on the transfer of some roles to our operations in India, that will be effective in 2012. We are working to redeploy staff affected into other roles within HP," said the company.

"HP uses a combination of onshore and offshore deployment models to most effectively support its customers. This is always done with customers' agreement and in compliance with their requirements to protect the security and integrity of any data." ®

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