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New HP jobs are 'public subsidy merry-go-round', says Unite

HP's plans to create 700 new jobs at its Erskine site in Renfrewshire, Scotland, has received...

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HP's plans to create 700 new jobs at its Erskine site in Renfrewshire, Scotland, has received criticism from trade union Unite over the use of public subsidies to hire employees.

HP will receive up to £7m of Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) support from Scottish Enterprise to increase its workforce in Erskine by 700 employees by 2014. It will create an IT service hub in Erskine to develop the supply chain, telephone and web sales, marketing and customer support services already provided at the site.

The trade union is unhappy about the thousands of HP job losses in the UK since 2008 and the use of public subsidies. According to Unite, while new jobs will be created, 700 jobs were transferred from Erskine to the Czech Republic last year and more than 700 jobs will be axed by the end of October from its UK taskforce.

Unite is demanding the company redeploy UK employees facing redundancy to positions at Erskine, claiming questions need to be asked as to whether the company is firing employees in other parts of the UK and using public subsidies to re-hire at Erskine.

"This looks like the company is using the public subsidy merry-go around to create jobs to replace those that they have transferred to Eastern Europe where labour costs are cheaper," said Peter Skyte, Unite national officer for IT and communications.

An HP spokesman said the funding from the government is a small proportion of that being invested by HP. In addition, there is no relation between the decisions to hire employees in Erskine and the transfer of manufacturing processes from the Scottish site to the Czech Republic last year.

HP said it would support applications made by HP employees facing redundancy in the UK, deploying them to Scotland if they had the right skillset.

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