HP Enterprise Services readies deeper cuts in UK: Now 1,000 techies face axe

Friday memo warns hundreds more at risk

Exclusive HPE is planning to axe roughly 1,000 Enterprise Services techies in the UK, The Register has learned today.

The bulk of the cuts will hit the Infrastructure Technology Outsourcing (ITO) wing: as many as 780 people in that division are now at risk of losing their jobs.

Staff in the UK were sent an "internal use only" memo on Friday afternoon revealing that hundreds of them could be out of work by the end of April. That's when HPE closes the second quarter of its financial 2016 year.

"This is a lovely way to start the weekend," one person close to the matter told us ruefully. Those in the firing line will be told as much privately within the next 24 hours.

In January, the IT titan warned that 166 ITO employees in England face the boot. Those at-risk workers are based in HP Enterprise's Lytham site in Lancashire, and they provide infrastructure services for public-sector clients, including the UK government's Department for Work & Pensions.

Now HPE is readying a far deeper cut – or a workforce management programme as it prefers to call it.

Today's email to ITO staff, and seen by El Reg, is headlined "management update" and was written by Maurice Mattholie, veep of ITO in UK and Ireland. It reads:

I am writing to inform you of the Company’s proposal to implement a Workforce Management (WFM) programme in Q2 FY16. As announced by Meg [Whitman], Hewlett Packard Enterprise needs to create a more efficient and accountable organisation to ensure a healthy long term sustainable business, with a market competitive cost structure, that will help the company transition to the new style of business.

It is important to point out that we are fully committed to continuing to use redeployment and voluntary exits to manage WFM in the UK and Ireland. It is expected that up to 780 positions within ITO will be impacted through WFM in Q2.

Whilst I appreciate that this announcement may cause concern I am committed to providing regular updates to ensure that everyone is kept informed. Thank you for your continued professionalism at this time of uncertainty.

This comes as HP Enterprise prepares to relocate all ITO roles in the UK to its offices in Cobalt, Newcastle, and Erskine in Glasgow. HPE, which employs about 240,000 people globally, has vowed to axe up to 30,000 workers worldwide over the next couple of years.

In a second management memo sent today to HPE UK staff, again seen by El Reg, Jacqui Ferguson, senior veep for HP Enterprise Services in UK and Ireland, explained:

In the UK, part of our strategy for Enterprise Services is to move more delivery services to both our Regional Delivery Centres (RDCs) in Erskine and Newcastle and to our Global Delivery Centres (GDCs). In aligning to this strategy in the UK, we have started consultation on our plan for the reduction of additional roles during Q2, with the UK trade unions and HPE employee representatives in the Enterprise Services Business Units.

We’d like to assure you that we remain committed to supporting the employability of our employees through a number of internal initiatives, including re­skilling, redeployment and support to obtain alternative employment, as appropriate.

Interesting aside: Ferguson is HPE CEO Meg Whitman’s ex-chief of staff.

"HP is a hugely profitable global company," said Richard Simcox of the Public and Commercial Services union, which represents some HPE UK workers.

"Staff are appalled at how little regard senior managers appear to have for the people who generate those profits, and the last few years hundreds in the UK have lost their jobs or have lived under the threat of redundancy. That's not good enough."

A spokesperson for HPE told us: "These changes are part of a company-wide strategy to give HPE the needed workforce to be a more nimble customer and partner-centric company." ®

Are you affected by Friday's news? Email us, please, so we can keep on top of this issue.

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