HP workers halt legal fight against bosses over 29,000 job cuts

Disagreements settled, negotiations resumed


HP employees have "withdrawn" legal action against the company and agreed to return to the negotiating table to hear CEO Meg Whitman's plan to cut 29,000 jobs.

The collective of HP workers, who are supported by numerous unions, sued the vendor and claimed it had not properly consulted staff and made the redundancy process difficult to understand.

The case was brought by HP's European Works Council (EWC) to a Belgium court in late November to demand "urgent and temporary measures"; an initial hearing was due to take place last week.

But Koen Dries, a lawyer representing the EWC - made up of 44 representatives - said "silent diplomacy" between the council, unions IndustriALL and Uni-Europa and HP resolved some issues.

"We settled our disagreement," he said, but would not be more specific. It is understood the staff body hopes to reform under the European Works Council directive with new legal powers to force HP to carry out a proper consultation in future.

"The re-establishment of the social dialogue and the acceptance of the EU framework on information and consultation, will benefit all stakeholders of HP and will hopefully inspire other non-EU IT companies," Dries added.

An HP spokeswoman said "renewed social dialogue is in the best interests of the employees and the company", adding: "The legal action will now be discontinued as part of the understanding that the two sides have reached." ®

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