Over 1,000 members of the union PCS working on government IT contracts began a strike ballot yesterday.
The union members work for EDS, which was bought by HP last year. The PCS says since the buyout 3,400 staff have been axed and a pay freeze imposed and voluntary pay cuts urged by HP managers. The union says HP plans a further 1,000 redundancies.
The balloted workers are employed mainly on outsourced IT contracts for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in locations around the UK, including Newcastle, Washington, Preston and the Fylde Coast.
Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said there has been growing anger among staff.
"Staff have been contributing significantly to HP’s revenue, whilst shouldering greater workloads and helping to generate good profit levels," he said.
"Yet 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," he added.
The ballot runs until 30 November and asks members to vote on a series of one and two day strikes and the possibility of action short of strike, such as an overtime ban or rest-day working.
HP said in a statement today that it 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," the statement said.