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From The Socialist newspaper, 24 March 2010

HP workers take further action

Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) members working for Hewlett Packard (HP) have announced a further four days of strike action in support of demands over pay, job security and collective bargaining rights. The action will take place on 29-30 March and 6-7 April.

Ian Fitzpatrick

The workers provide IT support for organisations including government departments such as DWP, MoD and for General Motors. This new escalated action is aimed at causing as much disruption as possible to services over the Easter period.

The union has been in dispute with HP since January with workers taking part in three days of solid strike action in January and March earlier this year. Workers are sick of being made to supplement company profits with cuts to jobs, pay and conditions.

The PCS union remains frustrated at the lack of progress over meaningful discussions at a company where it is considered acceptable to pay the bosses in excess of $40 million and yet freeze the pay for many involved in this dispute who are barely above the minimum wage.

PCS will be taking the issue to government ministers and highlighting the hypocrisy of taxpayers' money being used to subsidise the rich while low paid PCS members face the threat of redundancy. The government is awarding contracts to private companies who seem intent on profiteering at the expense of workers.

While the union remains open to meaningful negotiations, senior management appear determined to remain on a collision course with their workforce. At a time when the company has recently posted an annual profit of $7.7 billion, the workers remain determined to deliver solid strike action, a political message to government.

Strikes will take place in Newcastle, Washington, Preston, Lytham St Annes and Norcross.

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