back to article HP cancels Christmas in the UK and Éire

Hewlett-Packard has told its UK and Ireland-based staff that the computer giant won’t be funding their Christmas celebrations this year because of the worsening economic climate. The company had originally divvied up £35 (€45) per head for its employees, who for much of the year have watched HP’s workforce dwindle under the …


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  1. Anonymous Coward


    Given the amount each employee actually costs a company axing a £35 'bonus' is rather pointless, given the negative feeling it will create I'd have to say it's a rather stupid cost cutting move. Management, who needs them?

  2. Simon Pearce

    @ PHB

    > given the negative feeling it will create

    . . . but a company that has to shed 7.5% of the workforce will be looking to help people jump ship rather than fork out redundancy payments ;)

  3. Joe K

    Bit late notice

    Why would anyone cancel parties that have already been paid for?

    "To be fair to other teams". Huh?

    Bah, nuts to them, party if you still can i say.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Maybe they should...

    ...spend less on packaging the posted goods. That'd save a big penny!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    so that's why christmas bashes seem to have started unseasonably early this year - they're trying to get them in before they get chopped!

    That said, I can't imagine many HP staff are going to do much more than their contracted hours from now on - miserable gets that the management are!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    HP just one of many

    A very large amount of companies (Both large and small) in Ireland are cancelling their Christmas parties this year due to the 'economic climate' so they are just adding their names to the list.

    I actually don't find this a surprise. All in all, it might be a good thing as you wont get drunk enough and make passes at your co-workers causing that awkward moment the next day in work.

  7. Geeks and Lies

    Kick them all in the .....

    Nuts! Seems a little harsh to me!I work for an unamed Beancounting firm in the IT dept and even we are getting our paid for us :)

    Mines the one with company subsidised beer on!

  8. Eddie

    Bah humbug

    Just put Xmas back a month & you'll find restaurants, etc clamouring for your custom.

    Just tell the kids that Santa is delayed due to ongoing problems at Terminal 5.

  9. Jonathan McColl

    Now we'll do the maths

    (or 'math' for our Special Relations across the pond)

    If 7.5% is 24,600 people...

    And if they were springing £35 apiece worldwide...

    That's about £11.5 million possible spend...

    Or the wages of 500 people (well somewhere between 100-1000 depending on salaries).

    I'm not surprised they put out the note.

  10. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    So very glad I don't work for them

    Surely the drop in morale compared to the cost, which IIRC they can reclaim the tax on, is only going to hammer their business further into the ground. Utter stupidity!

    Paris, because.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Write to your elected member

    It seems a strange old world in which governments seem quite happy to bail out banks and the finance sector yet let other sectors quite happily trundle into the wall or bankruptcy.

    If you agree or not yet have strong views please forward those to your elected member (UK = MP, EMP, SMP, Welsh MP, ... USA = governor, senator, ... rest of the world = ???)

    My own view is that the finance sector is acting as an enemy within and attracting preferential treatment from governments worldwide. And those same governments will probably go to the same finance sector cap in hand seeking sufficient funds to mortgage countries for years to come.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We are still allowed to go out and drink beer

    As an HP employee, can I note that we are still allowed to nip out and have beer with our colleagues for xmas. Can I also note that it means our management is being less head-in-the-sand than all the city firms that are still running the big bashes and the bonuses. Maybe the cancelling has been done to avoid bad press, but there will be a big cost saving overall, and as nobody in the country has a clue what the economy is going to do, HP doesn't want to keep dancing along believing what Gordon Brown and Alastair Darlng have to say.

    Yes, we miss out on an xmas lunch. But compared to a lot of people this xmas, things could be worse.

  13. Funky Dennis


    calling it Éire. Unless you are writing the whole article in Irish. It makes you sound like Terry Venables. That is all.


    A crank.

  14. AC
    Thumb Down

    so what you are saying is ...

    that you expect companies to fork out for christmas parties as though it is a right of the worker? Unless it's in their contracts that they will be provided with free cash monies for xmas then I really don't see the issue here.

    If they want to go out and party privately, what's stopping them? Oh right the bill of course, surely their employers are liable for their personal expenses ?!?!?

  15. druck Silver badge

    No bonus turkey

    So HP are cutting back and passing on the downturn to the hospitality industry, to add to the Christmas cheer. How about that £35 per head is taken out of the executive bonus funds instead?

  16. Random Noise

    Big Oil

    Many of the big oil companies up in Aberdeen are also deciding to cancel all Christmas bashes.

    The staff don't mind though, it not like the companies they work for made much money this year anyway...

  17. bothwell

    Our director isn't paying for ours either

    But he says it's because we don't deserve it.

  18. david bates

    One of the perks of contracting...

    ...I dont have to attend company parties... :)

    Mind you, I never did even when it was pretty much part of my last permie job.

  19. Matthew Brown
    Paris Hilton

    Silly HP

    You need to keep your workforce motivated during a down-turn.

  20. Jon


    I really wouldn't mind. I see xmas party (lunch in our case) as a bonus not a right. I give them 37.5 hours of my time a week and evrey month they put money in my bank account, that's the deal we have come to, we both know what we get.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    EDS now HP

    Working for EDS (now HP) our Christmas parties were cancelled in the late 90's. The only difference since we are now HP is that they are cancelling the staff funded and organized event that was set up by the employees to replace it.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    EDS and HP

    From what I gather the chap who's doing the cancelling also announced "steps" to bring HP more in line with EDS (of which he was an employee IIRC prior to being taken over).

    Now, correct me if I am wrong, did HP not take over EDS and not the other way around? Given that premise, perhaps this gentleman should be reminded of that fact? He no longer works for EDS but for HP who tended to do things a little differently.

    I note that there was also a bit about not having staff pay rises, no recruitment unless a "revenue generating position", no travel - even for education and no more performance / recognition bonuses.

    Cheerful times at HP then and I bet the workforce is chomping at the bit to get cracking...

    Paris - because she knows when she's being shafted...

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    whos gonna bet..

    ... that the middle/higher managers still have a xmas bash , probably at great expense in an expensive resturant.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    The country is only called Éire when speaking/writing in the Irish language. The official name for the country in the English language is the Republic of Ireland. Or just Ireland if you prefer.

    You don't refer to Germany as Deutschland or even (Bundesrepublik Deutschland)? Or Denmark as Danmark? Sweden as Sveirge? Spain as Espagñe? Finland as Suomi? No, I didn't think so.

    So please call Ireland by its correct name.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My Take--Smart Move.

    Despite the economic climate, HP is one of the most employee focused companies I have ever had the opportunity to work for or with. When you consider that many companies are asking employees to give up a percentage of their pay (via salary cuts, unpaid vacations, voluntary severance, "re-scope" of benefits, etc.), taking away a "Holiday Party" (might I add that not all people celebrate Christmas, or even celebrate a holiday at this time of year--I do, but some don't) is really not a big deal in the large scheme of things. HP has simply asked their employees to do exactly what each and every one of us (at least the responsible ones) are doing at home, and that is to be more protective of capital assets. The benefit to HP employees is that we are able to do more for our customers, keeping our earnings up, and taking market share, which makes HP employees all more successful in the future. In addition, there are no obligations to take away from family time, thus furthering the HP employees work/life balance. My take is that Mark Hurd and the HP management team knows exactly what they are doing.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Management too... one of the "middle/higher managers" you refer to, I can assure you that this applies all the way to the top of HP UK. All the other stuff too as well as no pay rises and only customer-facing travel. Any exceptions have to be approved by Hurd.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @EDS and HP

    "Now, correct me if I am wrong, did HP not take over EDS and not the other way around?"

    You'd think so, but that doesn't explain why the official company line, and required email sig, is now

    "HP, an EDS company"

    No-one has a clue why. I think it was a typo somewhere.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Here's more fun things they're doing.

    Manage our Total Rewards costs

    For this year’s Focal Point Review cycle, there will be no salary increases, except where legally required

    eAwards are suspended

    No overtime work will be required of non-exempt employees

    Comprehensive benefit reviews are continuing on a country-by-country basis to harmonize HP and EDS offerings based on market practice

    Limit hiring to revenue-generating positions only

    Reduce agency contractor spend

    Limit company travel to customer activities only

    Internal meetings need to be conducted virtually

    Recognition and learning & development programs are also affected

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    HP .... a caring company to work for ... NOT!

    EDS was built as a company that respected and looked after its main assets, its people. Its people sell the services and maintain them - thats what makes its profit and which has been a major contributor to HP's Q4 results.

    So now's time to screw the employee . HP has never understood services, that why it sells printers and ink; in the services market it just wasnt there. Rittenmeyer never understood EDS, thats why since he squeezed out Heller and others and since he took charge he has consistently teminated employees - he is continuing this with Hurd - he doesnt care as he has his millions from the EDS sale and doesnt have to worry about a morgage.

    Its no longer just redundancies, they have now cancelled all salary revues, all pay rises, all travel, christmas parties - including those they were not paying for, employee long service awards, the list goes on ... in the old days this was a classic sign of a company going bust ..... or a company asset stripping .

  30. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    Guilty feelings....

    This is causing a bit of discomfort as our HP account team are taking a bunch of us out for Xmas lunch. Not sure if it is coming out of their sales team's P&L, would not be too happy if it turned out this was still centrally funded when the grunts at HP aren't getting their do, especially as we see it as the grunts working hard behind the scenes that have made our relationship work.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Morale, who needs it?

    Good to see that some bits of DEC are alive and well long after going to the wall themselves. Just a pity that at the end, DEC's main strengths weren't so much selling its fantastic hardware and software but its amazing demotivational abilities and general managerial pissing about.

    Pity the poor buggers still working there; different name, same crap.

  32. Randle McDandle

    Ahhhh now it all makes sense!

    @HP .... a caring company to work for ... NOT said:

    "they have now cancelled all salary revues"

    Of course! HP mistakenly thought this was Xmas entertainment too!

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The problem lies in the fact that the cancellation of all Christmas parties (not just Ireland and the UK, b.t.w.) came a mere two days after Mark Hurd had congratulated the workforce on their performance, achieving results well above what had been expected. Quote: "HP capped off a record year", "In closing, let me just say I couldn't be prouder of this organization...or of our people." And to add insult to injury, everyone then got this other mail about freezing salaries and cutting on bonuses.

    This particular sequence of mails within one single week is the biggest and most stupid blunder I have ever witnessed in all my 14 years of working life. It has resulted in an unprecedented degree of demotivation, rage and confusion among the employees.

  34. Doug Glass

    The "A" Team Spirit

    "I love it when a plan comes together."

    Col. John "Hannibal" Smith

    "Bah, Humbug!!"

    E. Scrooge

  35. Anonymous Coward

    The Economist v HP...

    The day after I received the email canceling the Christmas party (because of the harsh economic climate) my copy of The Ecomist was delivered. In the 1st few News in Brief pages, it reported that HP had recorded strong profits.

    Are things really so bad that we can't take the edge off of a hard year with a party?


  36. Anonymous Coward

    Glad i've just left

    I got the email too just before I left - AC for obvious reasons.....

    Mines the one with bank notes falling out of the pockets

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