Up to 200 HP staff could lose their jobs under the government’s plans to offshore work to India, prompting the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union to warn of potential industrial action.

The workers at risk provide IT support to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) at sites in Newcastle, Lancashire, Sheffield and Lytham St Annes.

The jobs could be moved to Bangalore by November 2011, PCS said. Although the offshoring plans have yet to be finalised and approved by the Cabinet Office, the union claims that the plans are at an advanced stage, and that ‘knowledge transfer work’ could start in August 2011.

Just two weeks ago, CIO 100 listed Birmingham City Council's joint venture with Capita, Service Birmingham, revealed plans to send up to 100 back office, technical jobs to India.

PCS, which represents more than 2,000 members at HP, said it could consider industrial action as it consults members about the plans.

HP staff held a number of strikes in early 2010, and suspended further planned strikes as negotiations on a pay and redundancy deal took place, which was eventually agreed.

“The government must not allow low-paid jobs to be offshored. It will be a disasater for UK workers and the tax payer and will only ensure that Hewlett Packard’s shareholders reap the benefits,” said Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary.

HP had not returned calls for comment at time of writing.