Hundreds fear job losses in city’s IT office

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HUNDREDS of worried computer workers in Sheffield face uncertain futures as a technology giant sheds thousands of jobs.

Hewlett-Packard, which employs around 200 people in the city and has offices on Napier Street, is to axe 27,000 roles worldwide by the end of 2014.

Union leaders at Unite believe up to 1,600 jobs of 20,000 in the UK could be under threat.

Urgent talks are planned with the company, which said numbers used by Unite were ‘speculation’ – but admitted ‘just about every’ region would be affected.

Kevin O’Gallagher, national Unite officer for IT and communications, said: “This is a devastating blow to the UK technology industry, a sector we need to develop to create future jobs and growth.

“We will be working with the Public and Commercial Services Union to protect these vital and high-skilled jobs.”

Hewlett-Packard employees in Sheffield work on Government agency contracts – including for the Department for Work and Pensions and Job Centre Plus.

Adrian Wood, assistant branch secretary of the PCS in Sheffield, said: “We don’t yet know about the effect on Sheffield but we would expect in the UK as a whole there would be an impact.”

Industrial action was possible, said PCS officer Peter Olech.

He added: “We are prepared to send an unequivocal message to HP that job cuts and compulsory redundancies will be resisted with every tool at our disposal, including industrial action.”

Firm spokesman Paul De Lara said plans for specific locations had not been announced.

He added: “We do expect the workforce reduction to impact just about every business and region.

“The number Unite are using is speculation.”

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