HP axes 1,124 UK employees as part of global restructuring

By Sooraj Shah
04 Dec 2013 View Comments
Taking an axe to budgets

HP is to axe 1,124 UK jobs at the start of 2014 in a move that union Unite claimed was a result of "a long-term addiction to a culture of job cuts".

The systems giant is cutting 29,000 jobs worldwide - some eight per cent of its workforce - as part of a restructuring programme led by CEO Meg Whitman.

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The company has been struggling, in particular, with its ailing PC business reflecting the global decline in PC sales, while HP's tablet computer initiatives have fallen flat. However, Whitman's aim is to focus on the company's enterprise group.

Whitman claims that it will take five years to revive the company financially. She expects its operating profit to grow faster than revenues by 2016. 

In a statement, the company said that it remained "committed to supporting the employability of its employees through a number of internal initiatives, including re-skilling, redeployment and support to obtain alternative employment as appropriate". 

But Unite national officer blasted HP for its decision, which was revealed at a meeting at HP's Bracknell offices today. 

"For the last five years, HP has been addicted to a culture of job cuts in the UK to such an extent that its highly skilled workforce has little faith in the way the company is being managed and will be going forward," said Unite national officer Ian Tonks.

"Unite will be doing everything possible to mitigate these job losses which are a hammer blow to the UK's IT sector and very distressing for employees in the run-up to Christmas," he added.

Almost half the total - 618 jobs - could be lost at the Bracknell hub, with 483 going from Warrington and 23 at Sheffield. 

Tonks believes that HP's European managers have little autonomy, with key decisions being made by the firm's US bosses.

"At the recent re-negotiation of the European works council (EWC), senior European managers were unable to answer any questions about the future EWC, as they could not get hold of their American bosses because of last week's Thanksgiving holiday. It's no wonder there is so little faith in the European management," he said.

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