The Public and Commercial Services Union has said that members working for Hewlett-Packard on its IT services contract with the Department of Work and Pensions will refuse to co-operate with putative plans to send work offshore.
HP is currently consulting with the government over the possibility of transferring roles under the DWP contract, currently delivered from various sites in the UK, to its operations in India "effective in 2012".
According to PCS, HP had originally planned to commence "knowledge transfer" this month, in advance of moving the work to its Bangalore delivery centre. Members have voted to resist co-operation with this "knowledge transfer" in order to protest against the decision to offshore, which PCS says may affect up to 200 jobs.
PCS says the industrial action was supported by 92.5% of its members working on the contract who voted in a ballot, although turnout for the ballot was under 50%. The union has around 170 members working at HP on the DWP contract.
A spokesperson for PCS told Information Age today that as the Cabinet Office and DWP have yet to give sign off on the decision to offshore, this "knowledge transfer" may not in fact take place at all. That means that the protest may not involve doing, or resisting, anything.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka characterised the dispute of "a key test of ministers’ rhetoric on the economy".
"They can’t simultaneously demand cuts from private contractors and put their faith in them to create jobs," he said in a statement.