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HP hangs axe over 268 UK staffers ahead of mass cull

Govt warned of upcoming cut, say insiders

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HP wants to make nearly 300 UK staff redundant before its mass lay-off programme even kicks in, company insiders have claimed.

Well-placed sources say HP informed the government's Department for Business Innovation & Skills a fortnight ago that 268 jobs have been put at risk.

Companies have a legal obligation under the Data Protection Act 1998 to file the "advance notification of redundancies" HR1 form to warn Redundancy Payments Services when 20 or more staff are to be erased from the payroll within a period of 90 days or less.

"This is not part of the global programme," said the source. "It's just a quarterly cull."

The wider cost-cutting scheme could cost 27,000 HP workers, or 7.7 per cent of the 349,600 strong global workforce, their jobs by the end of October 2014. The layoffs could save HP between $3bn and $3.5bn in annual overheads, some of which CEO Meg Whitman will use to invest in R&D.

The tech titan has already slapped together its printing and PC businesses, and created the Enterprise Group by merging its servers, storage, networking, global accounts and services teams.

Sources told The Channel that HP bosses in France and Germany are proposing to slash roughly 10 per cent of their workforce, and as many as 14 per cent in Sweden, but the UK, Italy and Spain management has not yet agreed on numbers.

It is alleged that country chiefs and EMEA execs are unable to settle on a figure amid concerns of impact to customer service, whether it be for punters or channel partners.

"We are not likely to see the numbers proposed for the UK until at least September," said the HP insider.

Unite and Public Services Commercial unions have estimated that up to 1,600, or roughly ten per cent, of HP UK employees could be shown the door under Whitman's grand purge.

HP refused to comment on the UK specific redundancies or on the number of staff impacted by the global programme. But she stated: “HP’s multi-year productivity initiative is designed to simplify business processes, advance innovation and deliver better results for customers, employees and shareholders.”

Presumably she is referring to staff that survive redundancies and have to work harder to compensate for having fewer colleagues.

A spokesman for the govt biz department said, in reference to the 268 UK staffers, it was unable to comment "whilst the process is still continuing". ®

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