Hewlett-Packard has announced the creation of 700 news jobs at its Renfrewshire base in Scotland by 2014.
The IT giant will receive up to £7m of Regional Selective Assistance funding from Scotland’s investment agency, Scottish Enterprise, to support the growth of its workforce in its Erskine office. It will start recruiting in November.
Marc Waters, head of strategy and integration at HP, UK and Ireland, said: “I am delighted to confirm our investment to develop the Erskine site as a hub for delivering industry-leading technology services.”
Employees at the Erskine site will focus on supply chain, telephone and web sales, marketing and customer support.
Alex Salmond, First Minister in Scotland, supported the move, and said that the creation of new jobs “reflects the quality of Scotland’s skilled workforce”.
The creation of new jobs in the area brings optimism to an area that was hit by the news in 2009 that HP was transferring the manufacturing operations at the Erskine site to the Czech Republic. Unite said that around 700 jobs were moved in the transfer.
Although the Unite Union welcomed HP’s latest news, it questioned whether HP was taking advantage of a “public subsidy merry-go round”.
Peter Skyte, Unite national officer for IT and communications, said: “Questions need to be asked as to whether the company is firing employees in other parts of the UK, whilst using public subsidies to re-hire employees at Erskine.
“This looks like the company is using the public subsidy merry-go round to create jobs to replace those that they have transferred to Eastern Europe where labour costs are cheaper.”
Skyte added that the Union will be demanding that the company will use the opportunity at Erskine to redeploy employees from the current workforce who face possible redundancy in two months’ time.
However, HP told Computerworld UK that the manufacturing jobs being cut were not the same as the new roles being created.
“We’re developing Erskine as a hub for delivering IT services to clients in the UK, so they’re very different types of roles. The new positions will support business growth and the redundancies that are happening across the UK are unrelated really, and clearly someone who has been affected by redundancy is always invited to apply for other opportunities in the company,” said a spokesperson for HP.
In July, HP announced internally that it would axe 934 jobs in the UK by October.
According to the Unite union, HP has a 16,500-strong workforce in the UK, which could also be affected by a further 1000 job cuts from November, which the union said is a “proportional” part of the 9000 job cuts worldwide that the company announced last month.