Union claims HP missed targets due to strikes

HP has suffered delays on its contracts and has farmed out work to rivals as a result of a two-day strike over jobs and pay, the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union claims.

Jim Hanson, national officer at PCS, said: "There were a lot of things that were meant to be finished by a certain time and were not. We introduced delays into the system and some work has been farmed out to rival companies. Accenture has been mentioned."

Hanson said that the main work affected was at the Department for Work and Pensions. HP, however, strongly denied the claims.

"The strike did not delay any commitments to the clients," the company said. "In response to working with Accenture – HP works within an ecosystem of partners for our clients. No change was made to those arrangements during the strike."

HP also said that it did not increase its use of subcontractors or contractors, and that it did not take on any additional contract staff.

The two sides seem a long way from reaching a deal. The PCS’s Hanson said that union representatives will meet on tomorrow (17 March). "If we don’t hear anything (from HP) we will see if there’s further action. Possibly another two days," he said.

Meanwhile, HP said that no talks are currently scheduled with the union. "However, we will continue to be open to further discussion with the union, via ACAS, in an attempt to avoid any further form of action," the company said.

Last week, union members went on a 48-hour strike at HP over a dispute over job security and pay.

Those taking part in the strike included staff working for HP Enterprise Services in Newcastle, Washington, Preston and the Fylde Coast. The strike action affected work at the Department for Work and Pensions, the Ministry of Defence, and car manufacturer Vauxhall.

The dispute centres on pay freezes, as well as on the 3,400 EDS staff who have been made redundant since HP took over the company in 2008, and the 1,000 job losses planned for the first half of the year.

The strikes took place as non-IT workers in the civil service, also in the PCS union, staged simultaneous high-profile action affecting a range of central government and judicial services.

The dispute between PCS and HP has been going on since December 2009, when HP narrowly avoided a strike by union members by agreeing to sit down to talks at the eleventh hour.

After a one-day strike in January, Hanson said the union had had a couple of meetings with the mediation organisation Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS), but that HP "wasn't willing to move far enough."

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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