Government IT staff walked out of their offices in a dispute over compulsory redundancies.
Workers at offices on Heyhouse Lane, Ansdell, have gone on strike over Hewlett Packard’s plans to cut 1,500 jobs, including those at Norcross Lane, Blackpool.
The computer firm, which has contracts with several government departments including one with the Department for Work and Pensions, has already served some staff with compulsory redundancy notices for July 31.
Around 65 staff are expected to be affected at the HP Heyhouses Office, leading to 26 staff manning a picket line outside their office yesterday and today.
Glyn Hinchliffe, 59, a test analyst and Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union representative, said: “I’ve worked here for 12 years and this is a blow, particularly given the economic climate.
“The problem we will have is finding other work, especially people who live around here.”
Nick Cockell, 50, a security consultant from Poulton, added: “We’ve got highly skilled and experienced staff who have been doing a good job for HP and it’s unfortunate we are losing their skills and experience.”
Hewlett Packard staff on the Fylde coast last faced redundancy in 2009.
A spokesman for HP said: “HP has a meeting scheduled with PCS in early August at which it hopes dialogue with senior HP managers will lead to the dispute being resolved.
“In co-operation with our clients we have put together a plan to mitigate the impact of the two day action.”
‘Graduates recruited on lower wages’
The PCS Union claims HP is replacing staff with graduates on lower wages.
John Pearson, branch secretary of PCS’s HP North West branch said: “HP claims that its programme of redundancies going forward to the end of 2014, is a consequence of implementing a corporate headcount reduction initiative called ‘Make It Better’.
“But this is disingenuous. At the same time as our members are being sacked, HP is running a big graduate recruitment programme.”