HP strike suspended as talks 'progress'

Members of the Public and Commercial Services union working at HP have suspended a second 48-hour strike as negotiations between the parties continue.

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Members of the Public and Commercial Services union working at HP have suspended a second 48-hour strike as negotiations between the parties continue.

The strike, which was due to take place today and tomorrow, was called off following what the union described as "progress" made in talks at the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) on 30 March. A 48-hour strike planned for last week was also suspended to enable the talks.

Jim Hanson, PCS national officer for HP, said: "We have made sufficient further progress to be able to suspend the action planned, and further talks will be held with a view to finalising an agreement between the company and PCS." The workers’ complaint centres on pay freezes and job losses.

HP added: "Further to our recent discussions on 30 March, HP is pleased to confirm that the basis of a resolution has been agreed with PCS. We will be continuing our discussions with PCS to bring the dispute to a conclusion."

The industrial dispute centres on the company's pay freeze and redundancies - some 3,400 EDS staff have been made redundant since HP took over the company in 2008, and a further 1,000 job losses are planned for the first half of this year.

The dispute between PCS and HP has been going on since December 2009, when HP narrowly avoided a strike by union members by agreeing to sit down to talks at the eleventh hour.

After a one-day strike in January, Hanson said the union had had a couple of meetings with the mediation organisation Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS), but that HP "wasn't willing to move far enough."

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