Computer-maker Hewlett-Packard is cutting 27,000 jobs to save $3bn a year but worried UK staff won't know their fate for months because the cuts will not be fully implemented until October.
The restructuring will save HP $3bn to $3.5bn a year by 2015. The company employs 350,000 staff including some 20,000 British workers, making everything from laptops to scanners and office printers. Just how many UK staff will lose their jobs is not clear.
"We have not yet announced specific plans with regards to specific locations," HP spokesman Paul De Lara said. "We do expect the workforce reduction to impact just about every business and region."
Third round of cuts
It is the third round of massive cuts in recent years. The IT giant said it was cutting 14,500 jobs globally in 2005. It cut another 24,600 cuts in 2008 after buying technology company EDS, with British workers bearing the brunt of those job losses,
The Unite union has accused HP of targeting the UK in the past because it is quicker, cheaper and easier to cut jobs in Britain than in the rest of Europe, where there is better worker protection. A union spokesman did not immediately returns calls on Wednesday.
Competition from electronic tablets, Apple's iPad and iPhone have eaten into profits but HP beat analyst expectations in announcing second-quarter results on Tuesday.
The California-based company said net revenue was $30.7bn, down 3 per cent from the same period in the previous year. Europe, the Middle East and Africa accounted for 35 per cent of that revenue, down 7 per cent in a year-on-year comparison. But analysts had been expecting worse.
HP results exceed expectations
"We exceeded our previously provided outlook," HP Chief Executive Meg Whitman said. "But we still have a lot of work to do,"
The company is offering an early retirement programme so the number of employees losing their jobs will depend on the number who retire early.
HP will use the savings from job cuts to increase dividends and develop new products in software services delivered online, data storage and analysis, and computer security.
"While I wouldn't say we have turned the corner, we are making real progress," Ms Whitman said in a conference call with analysts.