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Posted on 22 January 2010 at 15:49 GMT

Hewlett Parkard strike on North Tyneside

Despite the cold and rain, picket lines at both entrances of Hewlett Parkard (HP) in North Tyneside were well attended with over 45 pickets. Phil Hickey, Civil Service Union (PCS) workplace representative, told The Socialist:

"Half of our branch of around 420 members were civil servants until work was outsourced by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). We've lost many of these members through redundancies. However, since then we've picked up members hired directly by the company."

Phil went on to explain that new members who've been taken on after the work was outsourced have no union recognition, but he said, "We're fighting for that recognition, and for a decent pay award for all our members."

Mel Campbell, said, "I'm very cold - but it's worth being here. HP make huge profits, but are refusing to give us a pay rise." Mel pointed out that it was 'despicable' that whilst Mark Hurd (HP CEO) has received $425,000 (US), "Our American counterparts have taken an enforced 25% pay cut last year, and another 25% cut this year."

Another striker, Alan Skinner, added, "We've been forced into taking this action. When HP took over they attacked our pay and conditions."

The strikers who spoke to the Socialist understood that they would have to be prepared to take more action to fight off attacks threatened by HP bosses. As one worker commented, "These lunatics are running the company the same way that Stalin run Russia - wanting to terrorise workers."

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