back to article Unions mull appetite for HP strike action over 16k job cull

Trade unions are this morning digesting the revelation that another 16,000 HP workers are headed for the dole queue, as confirmed by CEO Meg Whitman. The exec revealed that thousands of more names will be added to the existing job cutting programme dubbed "Make It Better" that started in 2012 and initially included 27k, 29k, …

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  1. All names Taken
    Alien

    Alternative title:

    reaping rewards of public sector TUPE?

  2. The Jase

    HP are on a serious downward spiral with both hardware and service.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A complicated issue

    I am unable to locate any information as to exactly whom shall be laid off - average office / line workers or, proportionally, MANAGEMENT. Most likely, 16,000 line punters will be laid off whilst management, led by the CEO herself, continues to collect their year-end bonuses.

    When a business succeeds, management is first to claim responsibility; when a business fails, management is first to point the finger to the lower work force.

    HP's issues are far more complicated than the naive CEO and upper management believes. They believe that their problems are due to their inability to leverage any form of cloud computing - smartphones, tablets, cloud infrastructure, etc. That is CERTAINLY true, but it goes considerably beyond these points - HP, after years of making laptops with below average reliability as well as lackluster desktops, has lost consumer confidence in the computing field.

    When a company looks to supply their front-line workers with computing equipment, does HP end up on the list? Most likely NOT - Dell and Lenovo are first in line, maybe Apple if the shop is heavy AV creation content-oriented...and HP often isn't even on the playing field.

    HP printers? Nice home machines, exactly how often does a large HP printer order get rolled out on to the office floors? Again, not often. Lexmark, Dell, Ricoh, et al...and HP is somewhere down in the lower pack, thanks to high COO due to small yield yet overpriced consumables.

    So HP has lost the one major bulwark in the field of falling PC sales, the corporate market. For desktops and laptops they aren't considered a major player; severs, sure, HP is in the running but for every 1 server you sell 10 to 100 (or more) clients. That volume adds up.

    Or, in HP's case, DOESN'T.

  4. createahandletheysay

    Unions have it wrong.

    Exhausted the voluntary redundancy staff they have not. I know of many people biding their time watching their payouts increase on a monthly basis. Here's a guaranteed cheque for 10's of thousands, just keep waiting and the pot keeps growing.

  5. All names Taken
    Alien

    And if people start companies, formalise and legalise them and start to make a profit that is shared amongst company owners why should that company be run by its employees?

    That would be a putsch no? (Like the one in Western Ukraine I mean).

    There cannot be a shadow board of directors ... bottom line is if employees want to run companies and be owner-employee status they can start a co-operative, if unions want to run companies the Union can become a biggest share holder in the company (but might have to declare vested interest for all manners of complicated guff)

    No?

  6. ItsNotMe
    WTF?

    Sounds about right.

    Sales are up...profits are up...time for more redundancies.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sounds about right.

      Well no. Sales are down for the quarter, and earnings are down as well. Sure it is just the quarter, but while the "slide" is tapering off, it will take a while.

      I'd comment further but that would be a bad idea from where I sit.

  7. Dan Paul

    Following the likes of Carly Fiorina and her ilk....

    Too bad but the founders of so many innovative American companies must be spinning in their graves.

    These CEO's and COO's have no one to blame but themselves and their shortsighted policies, sure let's fire all the employees and then wonder why we don't have any customers or sales anymore. But let's continue to lie to one and all. FTR I won't buy from that type of company anymore.

    HP used to make great test and measurement instrumentation, mostly gone offshore. Used to make great printers, gone offshore, Used to make decent servers, gone offshore. Do you see a pattern yet?

    Sorry to say, but if you don't have a decent job, how many PC's or printers will you buy?

    Not many...you should learn that you reap what you sow!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    HP just following what DEC & Compaq did

    with their never ending spiral of headcount reductions (or Right Sizing).

    Profits down means headcount down. Rinse and repeat

    Soon there won't be anyone left to create those great products that Meg keeps on droning on about.

    1. TitterYeNot

      Re: HP just following what DEC & Compaq did

      Agreed. I've been watching this repetitive little saga with more sadness than interest since leaving DEC years ago, as senior management right royally fucked a once great company from the top down (this was when they still had good tech like the Alpha, so there was no excuse but poor management and lack of vision.)

      DEC then bought out by Compaq, who also self-destructed and started a death spiral... who were bought out by HP, who also started a death spiral...

      Will there be anything left of HP to buy out and who would buy it, or will it just be a hole in the ground by that point?

      I'm not optimistic.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: HP just following what DEC & Compaq did

        Enterprise Services (nee EDS) could be sold as a standalone unit, as could Personal Systems; whether they would be willing buyers is another question though...

        I don't agree that HP is in a death spiral. HP is actually fairly profitable - in the numbers announced on Thursday it made $1.3bn net profit in Q2 and has made similar net profit in previous quarters.

        The issue is that Wall Street demands revenue growth and HP is finding that harder to achieve.

        1. ecofeco Silver badge

          Re: HP just following what DEC & Compaq did

          "I don't agree that HP is in a death spiral. HP is actually fairly profitable - in the numbers announced on Thursday it made $1.3bn net profit in Q2 and has made similar net profit in previous quarters."

          HP has been freezing and cutting wages as well as mass layoff for almost a decade. Much of that profit is from those factors alone.

          This has seriously hurt quality and utterly destroyed any employee loyalty. That ultimately means trouble in the future. Big trouble.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: HP just following what DEC & Compaq did

            "HP has been freezing and cutting wages as well as mass layoff for almost a decade. Much of that profit is from those factors alone."

            I don't agree; cost savings from salaries and layoffs won't come close to $4bn a year.

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: HP just following what DEC & Compaq did

      Exactly.

      There's an old saying in business: "It's good to save money in business, but you can save yourself right out of business."

      In other words, once the bean counters are in charge, there is no more innovation and risk to drive the business.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unions can carry on mulling...

    as they weren't that good in defending jobs in the UK to date. I'm just waiting for all the small satellite offices to get wiped out. Look at the money HP will save on all these sites, aren't we great. Good luck all you HP bods, you'll need it...

  10. ecofeco Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Here's the best action you can take

    Leave HP. Leave as fast as you can.

    It is a has-been company and you will never have job security there again, ever. No pension. No upward career path. Nothing.

    When HP made real gear that manly men of real engineering and science used, they were a force to be reckoned with. They help set the standard for almost all things electronic and especially in electrical testing.

    Now they are a cut rate generic boxen/services maker with nothing that makes them unique or stand out.

    That never ends well.

    1. Mpeler
      Holmes

      Re: Here's the best action you can take

      "Now they are a cut rate generic boxen/services maker with nothing that makes them unique or stand out."

      Yep, you've got that right....HP now means Hewlett Packaging....white boxes with a blue label (will someone please get rid of that "Invent" insult....a legacy of Carly who killed the company...).

      When you've got no labs, you've got no future.

      Whitman doesn't understand this (she's not an engineer, so I'm not surprised - kind of like people who think milk comes from stores, rather than cows....). She may say there are a lot of new products to come out, but I suspect new will be like a different color of lipstick for the pig.

      HP used to LEAD that market, and innovated without having to have "invent" stuck to the bottom of their trademark/label/emblem/etc. The sales folks and engineers would actively solicit suggestions, complaints, ideas, etc. from customers and forward this information to the labs, developers, and support. I doubt the sales folks now have the technical background that they did back then....

      Another thing: this dismantling of HP has been going on longer than most people think...HP used to make their own PCBs, discs, and I believe tape units....all gone...Carly, Mark, Leo, and Meg have driven quite a few nails into the HP coffin...I just hope the company can pop the lid and get back on its feet....

      Speaking of nails, my Dad always used to say "If the only tool you know how to use is a hammer, every problem ends up looking like a nail".... The manglers from Carly to Meg use layoffs as their hammer.

      Time to get some folks there (board included) who have a complete toolkit and the skills as well...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Here's the best action you can take

        "HP now means Hewlett Packaging....white boxes with a blue label (will someone please get rid of that "Invent" insult....a legacy of Carly who killed the company..."

        The "Invent" tagline hasn't been used for a while now, but I completely agree with you. HP ripped the heart out of Labs years ago when Mark Hurd decided that R&D not producing overnight ROI wasn't good enough.

        HP is struggling to innovate and has largely resorted to producing 'me too' products and claiming that they're innovate. Just telling ad nauseum that something is innovative doesn't make it true.

  11. TheVoiceofReason

    Strikes Require Public Sympathy and Support, and Wider Social Impact

    Can't see any strike action being successful. The first element a strike requires is public sympathy / support. I can't see there being much sympathy for HP staff in the IT community. In the channel we've all been ripped off by some quarter chasing HP "account manager" - a practise that appears to be getting worse as revenues and profits get squeezed. Then there's the poor end user. A quick visit to Spiceworks and you will see the utter contempt that HP has for its customers. So the IT community are unlikely to support the strike as they would nurses or firemen. HP don't put out fires or fix things for us - they run in the opposite direction at the first sign of their mistake or anything that will cost them money.

    Social impact - the transport strikes in London are a great example of this. When the underground stops working London feels the pain at all levels. The social impact is significant. Will HP going on strike have any significant impact on the wider community? Not in the same sense as the removal of transport services to a dependent conurbation. HP contrary to the belief of its CEO and the attitude of its staff do not have a monopoly.

    HP appears to be in self destruct mode. We have seen decision after decision taken towards isolationism. Relationships with other vendors destroyed in a bizarre attempt to make HP self-dependent. HP is a company without friends. The industrial dispute is nothing more than a fart in talcum powder.

  12. Brian Miller 1

    What do they think all the staff will do?

    Can they not see that the huge amount of skilled staff will likely start there own IT businesses, Increasing the competition. Even if they do not collectively start their own, it is their competitors which will soak up the skilled folk.

    It seems totally barmy.

  13. Geoff Campbell
    Facepalm

    "Make It Better"

    Just how mind-buggeringly, bone-headedly, *stupidly* insensitive do you have to be to give the title of "Make It Better" to a massive programme of sacking people?

    I despair, really I do.

    GJC

    1. Mike Smith
      Thumb Up

      Re: "Make It Better"

      Well, to misquote Bill Clinton, that depends on what the meaning of 'It' is.

      I suspect in this case that 'It' refers to some numbers on a spreadsheet that are all red for some strange reason. To Make It Better, we just fiddle with some other numbers - the total meatware liability in this case - until It shows green numbers.

      There. We've Made It Better.

      I think we need the gravestone icon back.

  14. JohnDoh

    ... and still the contractors' come

    reduce the full time employees to satisfy the bean counters spreadsheet and use a different bucket to feed the contractors. Doesn't this smack of false accounting? Maybe they picked up some old tricks from Autonomy as well as the 'red hot poker' .

    It's sad times at the HP front but as Meg says - 'moral hasn't been impacted by the redundancy program' ... what a comedian!

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