Hewlett-Packard NZ staff face pay cuts

Hewlett-Packard and EDS staff in New Zealand are facing pay cuts and reductions in their benefits along with a redundancy programme announced last year.

An HP NZ spokesperson says the company is currently working through the local implications of the announcement, which was made during HP’s first-quarter earnings conference call relating to a planned reduction in employee compensation and benefits for HP globally.

“This process is being undertaken to ensure we emerge from the current economic downturn in a strong position,” the spokesperson says. “Once the local implications are clarified, our first responsibility will be communicating any changes to our New Zealand staff. Any local actions will, of course, be consistent with New Zealand laws and regulations.”

ZDnet reported this week that in Australia the EDS union, APESMA (the Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers, Australia), met with representatives of HP and EDS following the news of likely pay cuts.

EDS vice president Australia and New Zealand, David Caspari, had written to employees in both countries to say the company would look to put through the cuts, depending on legal issues and employee consent, ZDnet reported.

The cuts would be across both HP and EDS.

The industrial relations director of the APESMA union, Michael Butler, is quoted as saying: “They’ve indicated to us that they see this as an alternative to mass redundancies.”

However, the companies wouldn’t give any commitments that there wouldn’t be job losses in the future.

Last September, HP indicated that 24,600 employees globally, or 7.5 percent of the combined workforce, would be affected over a three-year phased workforce reduction programme.

A New Zealand spokesperson says the impact in Australia and New Zealand is expected to be in line with that announcement.

HP and EDS continue to operate as separate legal entities until further notice, the New Zealand spokesperson says.

“As a matter of policy, we don’t reveal specific details on a country’s headcount,” the spokesperson says.

HP posted a 5 percent fall in operating profit, down to US$2.5 billion, for its first quarter ended January 31, 2009. Net earnings were down 13 percent on increased revenue of 1% ($28.8 billion). When adjusted for the effects of currency, revenue declined 9 percent in Asia Pacific.

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