I am pleased to report that industrial action by PCS members working for the major government IT contractor, Hewlett Packard, has been reinstated.
I previously reported that, despite a big majority for action in a ballot of the 1400 members in the HP Group, the union’s National Disputes Committee had ordered the suspension of the one day strike set for Monday 15th April and the overtime / on call ban set to start the following day. The reason given for this was that an offer had been received from HP and that time was required for its consideration before industrial action took place. Sadly, this position was supported nem con by the Group Executive Committee.
The offer from HP when it was revealed after the suspension of the industrial action comprised a 1.6% pay rise plus various statements of intent to kick the can down the road on other elements of the claim, such as restoration of pay progression, promotion processes, a permanent mechanism for members not covered by collective bargaining to be able to opt into it, equal pay assurance, etc.
On job security, HP merely stated an intention to ‘re-commit’ to the Job Security Agreement which emanated from the previous dispute settlement in 2010 and which they had ignored ever since the ink dried on it.
They refused to give a no compulsory redundancy guarantee and rejected our demands for an end to job cuts, an end to offshoring and an end to the hiring of contractors, (whose ranks include not insignificant numbers of formerly permanent staff who previously took voluntary redundancy).
The offer was overwhelming rejected at workplace meetings. It mustered only 2 votes for acceptance in our North West branch.
The GEC and NDC have been dragged by the members into reinstating industrial action. The proposed dates – coinciding with the go live weekend for the Universal Credit IT system – came, not from the GEC but from rank and file members at the workplace meetings.
After the wake up call from the members, an overtime and out of hours cover ban and work to rule started on Friday 26th April. A first one day strike follows on Monday 29th April.
An urgent task now is to forge links of solidarity with our Civil Service PCS colleagues in the concurrent national dispute over the same issues as our own.
PCS HP North West Branch