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HP to slash 1,300 UK jobs as profits rise

IT giant Hewlett-Packard is set to slash its UK workforce by 1,300 in a move condemned by Britain's largest trade union as "butchery".

Unite today launched an attack on HP's decision, which follows the cutting of 900 jobs in June this year. The latest round of job cuts will bring the total number of jobs shed by the company over the last two years to more than 6,000.

HP said the cutbacks were part of a $1 billion restructuring of its services business announced in June, explaining: "[We are] in consultation with the appropriate representative bodies within the UK regarding potential workforce changes which were announced on 1 June 2010. The company has not publicly stated when the consultation will end or when staff will depart."

The jobs will mostly be moved to other HP locations outside the UK, andthe cuts come against a backdrop of increasing revenues for the company. HP's latest quarterly figures, released in August, show operating profits up by 14 per cent. The company is set to make around $130 billion this year.

Unite national officer Peter Skyte claimed the company was "hell-bent on continuing to butcher its highly skilled UK workforce".

"It is increasingly difficult for HP employees in the UK to plan for their futures when the threat of redundancy is continually hanging over their heads," he added. "Morale is at an all-time low."

Skyte dismissed as a "mirage" the idea that the high-tech sector would provide the engine for an economic recovery in the UK, and warned that British workers were at risk from inadequate employment laws.

"Lax employment protection in the UK compared to other European countries means that the UK is bearing the brunt of cuts, as it's quicker and cheaper to sack UK people and export their jobs abroad," he said.