The government and HP have come under fire from the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) over proposals to offshore 200 Department for Work and Pensions IT jobs to India.
Staff at HP offices in Newcastle, Lytham St Annes and Sheffield could all lose their jobs if ministerial approval is given to let HP employ workers in Bangalore, a move the PCS has strongly criticised.
"The government must not allow low-paid jobs to be offshored. It will be a disaster for UK workers and the tax payer, and will only ensure that HP's shareholders reap the benefits," said PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka.
The PCS argues that the cost-cutting drive behind the government's decision does not take into account the wider economic impact of the losses, including lost tax revenues and increased benefit payments.
A spokesperson for the DWP said that nothing wil happen until HP receives official government backing, and that nothing has yet been agreed.
"Any plans by HP to move departmental work offshore would have to be agreed by ministers. Our contract is explicit that suppliers may not transfer or store data overseas without specific agreement from the department," the spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for HP said that, while negotiations are afoot to move the roles outside the UK, the company is working to find new jobs for those who will be affected in its UK offices.
"We have begun consultation on the transfer of some roles to our operations in India that will be effective in 2012. We are working to redeploy staff affected into other roles within HP," the spokesperson said.
V3.co.uk contacted PCS for a response to this, but had not received a reply at the time of publication.
HP is one of the biggest IT suppliers to the government, and was recently called to give evidence on the way technology services are procured as Whitehall seeks to cut down on the cost of IT services.
Nick Wilson, managing director of HP UK and Ireland, recently confirmed that the government's G-Cloud initiative, of which HP was to be a central supplier, has been shelved, but did not elaborate on the reasons.
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