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These are worrying times for up to 4,000 workers at Hewlett-Packard (HP) in Ireland. Staff are anxiously waiting to hear if their jobs will be affected by the company’s recent announcement that it will axe its worldwide workforce by 8 per cent

HP confirmed it intended to slash its wage bill by nearly 27,000 jobs globally as part of a cost restructuring programme. The timeframe involved is end 2014.

HP is quoted as saying that the job cuts, along with other measures, should save it $3.5bn (€2.75bn). It added that it would invest this money in growth areas like “cloud” storage technology.

The news came as shock to the markets as well as its Irish workforce. HP is the largest computer maker in the world with large facilities based in Leixlip, Co Kildare, and Ballybrit in Galway city.

PC sales have been hit hard primarily due to the increasingly popularity of smartphones, the iPAD and tablet computers. HP’s bottom line has been affected and once again demonstrates how multinational IT companies appear slow to react to threats from new technology developments.

HP hopes to reduce the number of redundancies by offering an early retirement programme although chief executive Meg Whitman said the cuts were needed to ensure HP’s long-term health.

There has been no word from the company yet on plans regarding the their Irish operations.

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