HP staff to vote on industrial action

UK staff at Hewlett-Packard will be balloted on industrial action over cuts in bonuses and pension packages to some 150 field engineers.

UK staff at Hewlett-Packard will be balloted on industrial action over cuts in bonuses and pension packages to some 150 field engineers.

This is the first time HP workers have been asked to vote on potential strike activity, and the Unite ballot will begin today with a result expected in the middle of next month.

The issue centres on the 1 November transfer of engineers and support specialists to another HP company, HP CDS and the resulting removal of pay benefits including a £2000 performance related bonus and a final salary pension scheme.

"Our members face cuts to their pay and pensions and have no choice other than to begin an industrial action ballot," said Peter Skyte, Unite national union officer.

The ballot was in response to an overwhelming vote for industrial action after Unite consulted its members earlier this month.

The union said the changes proposed by HP were "the latest in a series of attacks by the company on our members' pay and conditions, while senior executives and shareholders do very well indeed."

"Unite remains willing to seek a resolution to this dispute with HO but not on the basis that one employee's pay cut results in a HP executive's pay and bonus increase," Skyte added.

Fujitsu is also balloting staff on industrial action over planned changes to around 1,500 employees pension funds with the results due in the next few days, while hundreds of workers at IBM are joining Unite also in protest of planned pension cuts.

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