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back to article HP faces first ever UK strike action

HP faces possible strike action from some of its employees in the UK, after trade union Unite announced a vote among its 150 customer engineers, whose jobs are being shifted to a subsidiary firm. If the strike gets the go-ahead, it will be the first of its kind at HP, which in the past two years has undergone dramatic job culls …

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Anonymous Coward

welcome to HP.CDS

I can asure you HP.CDS do not pay bonuses or have final salary pensions, you'll be lucky to get

any sort of payrise ( 2% over the last 4 years !! )

So HP premadonas can go on strike for all I care we don't want you anyway!!

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Dead Vulture

Only one loser

It feels like all IT companies are cutting down on costs to remain competitive. The upshot of this is that employees are getting shafted.

Working for Fujitsu, Fujitsu are making redundancies and cutting the final salary pension. For other companies to remain competitive, they have to follow similar cuts. In the end, services will be cheaper, and IT workers will be worse off.

If I had my time again, I wouldn't of gone for a IT profession.

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Anonymous Coward

Reply to first comment

As one of the affected employees , I'd just like to set the record straight for Anonymous Coward

I have not had any pay rise whatsoever in 10 years , and bonuses are part of my renumeration package at HP (although very few and far between) along with a final salary pension. Also we are loosing other benefits not mentioned here such as increases in the cost of Medical cover , life insurance and losses of other benefits altogether. You as a HPCDS employee agreed to the package you have now , I and my colleagues have not and this deal is being forced on us with no bargaining on HP's behalf at all.

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Anonymous Coward

Paging Matt Bryant, paging Matt Bryant.

Let's see him put a positive spin on this one!

Poor Mark Turd fanbois - so much for working for a company that's determined to make a profit.

Let's see how short-lived that strategy's success will be.

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Pirate

Matt @ HPCDS?

Hmmm interesting....

A nice chistmas gift for you Matt!

Cheers!!!

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FAIL

HP invent - Commodities Company

A commodities company deserves commodities staff.

The ones who have brains get out of this c**** company right now...

Except for Matt, who is a blinded HP fanboy and will retire as an HP CDS employee :)

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Alert

Power to the people

In the UK Customer support engineers are being balloted for industrial action, if they vote to strike this would this would cause havoc for HP customers and deeply impact HP's sales across europe. Why you may ask, because these are the very engineers whom support and maintain business critical systems 24 x 7. Almost every bank, telco, supermarket chain, goverment and MOD use a critical core HP system for either all or part of their infrastructure.

HP UK management have really messed up big style with the shody treatment of loyal staff whom are finally saying enough is enough because of the mindless cost cutting and loss of benefits. Watch out for the potential for this action to spread out across the whole of HP Europe as the unions stand united..

The CE's always work their rear ends off and get treated like dogs. With some luck unionization of the field CE force might go world wide and put some real hurt on Hurd.

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Anonymous Coward

welcome to HP.CDS

premadonas..??

do you mean prima donnas..??

i'm not surprised you receive very little in the way of benefits CDS's current workforce are about at the level of unskilled labour..

Can you really blame the members of a highly trained & professional workforce if they do not wish to have their careers dragged down to your level..??

more power to them i say..

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xyz
Grenade

And the difference will be...?

Having worked with my client's "HP partners" for over a year, I for one can't wait for this useless bunch of idle bullsh*t monkeys to die. They never do anything anyway, so their staff being on strike will make no difference to any delivery dates or SLAs they may have agreed to.

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Unhappy

Time to stand up and be counted

Good on my fellow Unite (Amicus) colleagues - nice to see that you've got the courage of your convictions and are willing to say 'no more' to the idiots in HP HQ.

But I forget, according to El Hurdo, people are our best resource - in which case he was a slash'n'burn farmer in a previous existence.

I wish you well... :)

Re: "welcome to HP.CDS" - you got a 2% over 4 years - sheesh, talk about favoured - the bit of HP I work for got sod all.

Re: "Paging Matt Bryant, paging Matt Bryant" - small correction if I may, HP already makes a profit, Hurd and co just want to make more (actually I was going to say "a lot more" but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt). But given that _their_ bonuses are stock-related you'd expect them to want to pimp the share price for all it's worth.

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Anonymous Coward

HP STRIKE ACTION !!!

I personally feel very sorry for those Engineers at HP at the moment, because they are being treated pretty much the same as the 105 Engineers were just over 3 years ago, who were tuped over to Phoenix IT & lost final salary pension etc then, although it is rumoured that many of these engineers will be joining HP CDS in May 2010 !!!! If the Engineers go on strike will the work be passed over to Phoenix and if so should Unite members join in also !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hewlett Packard used to be the company with Golden Handcuffs not Anymore more like Poundland these days.

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WTF?

FINAL SALARY PENSIONS?????????

Listen to you whining about final salary pensions, you sound like politicians. Nobody else gets final salary pensions any more. Why? Because they are a b.s. ill conceived idea that can't be financed in the long term.

Unionisation of IT services... Turning the white collar - blue.

Unite don't serve anyone but themselves, look at that money you are pumping to them every month. They've quickly targetted the higher earners in IT than their usual cleaning staff, shop workers etc. Use the money you waste on them towards you pension pot/mortgages....

Guess who loses out when you strike, you do. Guess who listens. Nobody. Net result = More jobs go to India. Shame the retards at Unite don't realise this. Someone should be checking THEIR bonus and compensation schemes. Plenty of union bosses taking home big pay cheques.

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Bunch of whingers

I agree with the Final Salary Pensions poster ... final salary pension schemes were unrealistically generous and unsustainable. Every big company in the country is having to rationalise its' workforce, take a realistic look at benefits packages and take necessary actions to survive. I've worked for HP's main competitor for years and have seen very little in the way of payrises either. It's just the way of the world. It might be a shock to the system and it might seem unfair based on the comfortable existences we have all had for years but take a good hard look at your situation and realise we are all the lucky ones - we have jobs, we have better than average salaries, etc. And the person who said if he had his time again he wouldn't work in IT - come off it, we have mostly had it too easy for too long working in IT, we're just finally having our wings clipped but we still all earn a decent living.

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Thumb Up

"Nobody else gets final salary pensions any more"

A couple of things:

1) Do you think management don't get decent pensions, which are FS in all but name?

2) Have you heard of Goodrich UK? With the support of the union (Unite, obviously) the workforce at Unite who were in FS pensions are *still* in FS pensions. Other less well organised outfits haven't been so successful/lucky, perhaps because they've been held back by management lackeys like AC0645 who hold unions not management responsible for the state of the business.

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Anonymous Coward

Is everyone going on strike?

Most companies have put wage rises on hold and even cutting back on pay (like having extra unpaid days off) and thats not enough to keep some companies afloat.

Yet there are people out there striking for more money. The bus company round here regularly go on strike, and since its the run up to Christmas, they probably will do it again in the next few week.

Strikes affect others who's companies could be teetering on the edge of going over before this extra hassle.

They should think themselves lucky they have jobs.

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Anonymous Coward

just to get it straight:

Is HP CDS what was once called Synstar?

Having been an HP employee before I was a Synstar employee I can completely understand why people are talking about strike - Its just like the Compaq/HP merger that killed many a career with HP back in the early part of this century. HP go through cycles of investing in people and then throwing them to the lions.

Synstar where pretty much "for hire" engineers - for a wide range of old systems, so while I see why the move would make sense - I would feel it unfair to have to loose all my benefits because of a re shuffling on a HR level.

good luck guys.

excuse the english /cheese eating surrender monkey.

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Anonymous Coward

Who would you trust

Working for a large "mission critical" customer for a good number of years I have met both HP customer engineers and attended meetings with the HP TSG upper level managers. Although saddened by news of a strike (if implemented) and the potential effects on our own business, I would like to add that I would trust the words of a hp core engineer anytime over the word of the HP support management. I appreciate not everything is black and white, but after repeated cost cutting within the support organisation and being told repeatedly by upper level hp managers that these changes would improve our own service delivery experience I find it difficult to belive anything they now say, as every change they have implemented so far has been detrimental.

If your lucky enough to get a HP support guy on site these days then think yourself lucky, as these guys appear to be the only ones left whom understand the needs of their customers and their businesses.

I am sure there is more at stake than just pensions.

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Grenade

Who would you trust

Working for a large "mission critical" customer for a good number of years I have met both HP customer engineers and attended meetings with the HP TSG upper level managers. Although saddened by news of a strike (if implemented) and the potential effects on our own business, I would like to add that I would trust the words of a hp core engineer anytime over the word of the HP support management. I appreciate not everything is black and white, but after repeated cost cutting within the support organisation and being told repeatedly by upper level hp managers that these changes would improve our own service delivery experience I find it difficult to belive anything they now say, as every change they have implemented so far has been detrimental.

If your lucky enough to get a HP support guy on site these days then think yourself lucky, as these guys appear to be the only ones left whom understand the needs of their customers and their businesses.

I am sure there is more at stake than just pensions.

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More power to the CE's

As an ex HP employee I have seen at first hand the demise of a once great company, a company we all used to be proud to work for and who looked after its employees, since the Compaq merger it has gone downhill rapidly, not a reflection on the vast majority of compaq employees who joined us but more of a change in the direction and attitudes of those at the top.

I hope that the guys moving to CDS settle in quickly and are able to make the adjustment to their new home as quickly as possible, what HP dont seem to realise or care about is that they are losing one of their biggest assetts, the guys who dig tyhe HP name out of the dirt on a daily basis in front of customers.

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Alert

Its not just about pensions

Can I make the point its not about just pensions, im not on a final salary pension, but still have just voted YES to strike action. Its about the whole deal and the way we are being treated.

We care about our customers and want to be able to deliver a good service, over the years everything has been slowely taken away from us meaning to provide a good service we have to circum vent all the procedures and you know what thats fine because we understand that the customer doesnt care about going down the right route, what they want is there system fixed and as soon as possible.

We do not want to go on strike however the way we are being treated is worse than you would treat a caged bear, we are expected to take reductions in benifits that mean we are literally thousands of pounds worse off, this is on top of 10 years with basically no pay rises. As for the we are paid more than the average wage, actually im not, its a degree level job but they are trying to put us into a part swapping job. We know this, if allowed to continue will be disasterous for our customers, they would have to rely on India to get the diagnosis right. This is not a sudden thing, we have just had enough, if they continue down this route they will try and make us take HP CDS terms and conditions then I for one will leave, like many of my colleagues, then customers will be left with the lowest common denomiator, a bit swapper that is not trained on the product they are working on. But I can assure customers they will not pay any less in support.

If HP continue on thier path of not coming to the negotiating table there will be only one result.

For any customers that get effected by any possible strikes we appologies but we are doing this for you as much as we are for ourselves and hope you understand.

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Unhappy

Employer employee discussion

Employee: Excuse me why have I not been paid this month

Employer: What are you talking about, you dont need to get paid, dont you know were in a recession, you should be just be glad you have a job.

Raises the question at what point do you say enough is enough.

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Pirate

Final Salary Pension Schemes

I find it really annoying to see comments about final salary pension schemes being unaffordable.

What has happened in recent years is that governments have decided to use people's personal pension pots as a handy means of grabbing money for wasting on public finances. Companies find they are being penalised, and at the same time have to make a decent profit to stay in business.

I would prefer we went back to the OLD days where people worked and saved into a retirement fund so that they could have a few years of pleasant life at the end. Instead of which we have money-grabbing-governments stealing money from pension funds and rewarding fat cats for producing profit figures - at the cost of the wage slave. It has got nasty, and it will get worse until at some point in the future the industry leaders will figure that maybe the old system wasn't so bad after all.

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Thumb Down

Been there did notlike it

I worked for HP CDS.

I left.

I did not like being treated like Crap Dirty Scum by HP.

Maybe the engineers that were sent to Phoenix gotthe better deal.

My hart goes out to all the HP engineers being shat on by HP at the moment.

Happy Christmas.

What.

The stuff is in the shops now.

Good luck with the strike.

Stand up for your selfs now or be there door mat for ever more.

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Thumb Down

"Then I for one will leave"

Then go ahead. If more people left their employers instead of letting Unions manipulate them they might not be in the mess they are in.

And to the person who commented on my previous comment about FS pensions, who gives a rats ass what the "upper executive" get in "all but name". Those guys are always going to cream the best money, anyone who thinks otherwise is deluded. The fact of the matter is, you me and every other sucker is paying for the people who have FS pensions RIGHT NOW. This has to end some time.

I cant believe the unions have got a grip on IT. Yes there is a recession, and yes you might not have had pay rises for a while. GUESS WHAT. YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY ONE!.

There is no divine right to a pay rise. We just got used to it for so long. To the person who said they had a "degree level job" so why did you sign up with some minimum wage union outfit?

I've seen a large number of people who work in IT who are grossly over paid for their skills in the UK, compared with the US and other parts of Europe. So if money is tight, stop pissing it away on self serving union pricks.

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Anonymous Coward

look on the bright side

1. the headman at HP.CDS used to be HP ( so you will be used to the shit conference calls and emails )

2. your basic T&C should not change.

3. you will still be serving your existing contracts.

4. you have a job! paying more than minimum wage. ( unlike the 3 million who don't)

5. if your not happy WAIT until the job market improves then leave when it suit's you.

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FAIL

What are you, postmen?

There are so many points in this list of comments that I don't agree with it's hard to know where to start!

To the guy who is working for HP and getting paid below market rate ... anyone who has worked for any organisation for a period of time is going to be paid below market rate pay. I recently left one of HP's major competitors to join HP because I was significantly below market rate there. Companies pay what they need to to keep employees and to attract employees - it's not an HP thing, it's just the way. If I'd not got to the point that I was so far behind it was comical and never going to catch up on the 1 year in 4, 'you're the lucky one' couple of % payrise, I'd have probably stayed where I was but I moved because that's what you need to do. I didn't think about going on strike because that shouldn't be how these things are resolved. In a open market economy, if you think your skills are worth more, put yourself out on the market!

I've never had a FS pension, the aforementioned competitor stopped them for new employees a long long time ago just before I joined but did I think about striking because I wasn't getting the same bens as some people who'd be there in some cases 1 year longer? And now that company has scrapped them altogether, it's actually freed some people to start looking at the market as they are no longer bound to the company. Has anyone thought that the fact you were on a FS pension might have been a consideration when payrises were given out? Companies have known for a long time that they are unaffordable so wouldn't it make sense that they look to minimise the salaries of people on them?

Also, to the guy in HP again saying that the job has been de-skilled. Again, way of the world. Automation and commoditisation mean that tasks are simpler to carry out with a lot more things being customer fixable, and a lot more things diagnosable over the wire. We can't stand in the way of this change because it needs less people.

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Anonymous Coward

This is the straw that broke the camel's back

I am a 21 year HP employee.

Some of my colleagues have tried to make this clear.

It's not really about this specific issue, it's about all the other similar "changes" made by HP as it looks to "manage" the cost of it's workforce. Ten years ago, HP did not need to be unionised because it treated it's employees with respect. You worked hard; you got rewarded. Not any longer and not for a long time.

Many of us have not had a payraise for 10 years, when the company has been making record profits and rewarding it's executives accordingly. In addition, there has been a gradual eroding of every benefit, together with any sort of HR system that allows the employee the right to reply (how many other companies direct employees to fill out a webform, for personal HR issues, and get a one line response from an indian call centre employee ??)

At the end of the day, it's a complete failure of management that has taken our company from it's top spot in "best company to work for" to out of the chart altogether and led it to the situation we're discussing here. We understand what our customer's need and what they need are motivated employees, who because they have a stake in their companies success are willing to go the extra mile. It's time that HP's management realised this as well...

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Dead Vulture

The sneaky HP

To try and make some people understand, this is what we have been subjected too.

1) They have interpreted our T&C's as they see fit, they then told us we had to sign up to these new terms or we would effectively resign, this was totally wrong and totally illegal, if we didnt sign as we didnt then we go over on current terms and conditions, they were trying to get us to sign so they could legally reduce our T&C's using the TUPE law in totally the wrong way to try and get us to do this.

2) Final salary axed, a lot of our guys are below 10 yrs to retirement, they have made thier plans accordingly, HP currently puts in 23% into FS pension, they are now only offering 6% meaning to keep thier plans on track they will now have to stump up 17% of there pay to subsidise the loss.

3) BUPA private cover, as part of our contract we get private health care and we can pay extra to have our family covered, and before you say its a luxury, companies do it so that you get back to work quicker. A family of 4 covered on the BUPA private health care will now have to pay about an extra £1000 per year for the same cover

4) When our colleagues went over the pheonix they were bought our of a bonus scheme in our T&C's with a 2% pay rise, HP is now saying they are not going to put us into any scheme even though it is in our T&C's and should be protected by TUPE law.

5) Broadband allowance cut by two thirds to just net £7, you try getting buisness broadband and line rental for that amount.

6) We have a bargaining group with unite, however when ever HP sets up a meeting to discuss all these points they play games, they give incorrect con-call details or they dont turn up until half way into the alloted time meeting, they get someone to come on a concall to say they have booked that concall number for a meeting and all HP people quickly leave without questioning it or just asking to create a new concall room. When HP do this they then stick rigidly to the finishing time regardless of the fact they turned up late so we dont have enough time to discuss issues.

7) They are trying to illegally add terms and conditions that we didnt previously have in our contract this is against TUPE Law, things like having to have a car less than 7 years old, saying it is a condition of our employment that we are oncall when every they want and we must do overtime when ever they want, all it says in my contract is I must be flexible, thats a big leap from anyones imagination. They have told us after we threatened to turn down the broadband payment and run up huge bills through thier 3G phones that it was a condition of our employment that we provide them with broadband

8) under TUPE law implied terms are protected, an implied term is anything not written in your contract but that has been in place for a significant time, on a goverment website it gives an example of redundancy terms as an implied term and condition, we have had certain redundancy terms for legacy HP guys for 20 odd years yet HP say they do not recognise this as an implied term and condition and although they have given it to us now they are free to change it when they want, ie just before they make us redundant so its not worth the paper its written on.

9) We currently get a £9 lunch allowance for working late to cover the extra cost of having to get a meal while working away from home. This is going.

10) The pence per mile rate we get at HP is based on 30mpg, at CDS its based on 35mpg meaning it is at a lower rate.

11) CDS want us to sign to say a company can keep checking our details with the DVLA to make sure we have not been banned from driving, however if this data is missused and we are victims of identity theft CDS say thats our responsibility and will not cover us in any way.

12) The time table has been imovable from day one, we go over on monday and there are still issues with our laptops, things havent been tested and we are not ready.

To be honest I could go on and on with probably about another 20 points of things we are having taken away from us and the way in which we are being not only poorly treated but in some cases illegally treated but I think by now you have got the point. We are dedicated engineers who love our jobs and are damn good at it, its not about wanting more money its about not wanting to be thousands of pounds worse off and protected by TUPE like we should be.

This is being driven by a certain persons in high up HP one of which I will name and shame is Paddy Boxhall, he has fought any measures to allow us union representation and comes across as heartless and ignorant. The date has been imovable because he will get a lovely nice big bonus and pay rise if he manages to get this done on time and shaft us like they want to.

To any customers out there that after reading this can now understand why we have had to take this extraordinary step I would urge you to contact HP and put pressure on them to come to the negotiating table.

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Dead Vulture

Liability waiver

Can I just add any comments made in the pointed comment above are my own opinion and may not reflect fact. I am doing this for legal reasons.

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Flame

Paging Matt Bryant #2

It is seems really odd, but whenever a bad press about HP comes out, Matty disappears like a ninja.

Oh wait... is he busy doing paperwork to sign CDS contracts?

Poor Matt... waiting him to come back from shadows (if he ever does)

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Anonymous Coward

Good Old HP

Good Old HP

...ceased to be the day that foul harridan Fiorina decided to pay waaaay over the odds for a brand called Compaq. She (we) bought: market share; a bunch of crap senior managers many of whom stayed on to continue to wreak havoc; a bunch of ridiculous processes and practices; and the end of the Bill and Dave era. For good. What went on in the Clean Room changed everything and there no going back. Daimler Benz got smart and demerged with Chrysler. HP was just no that smart. It is called hubris.

It is actually Lew Platt's mistake in hiring her in first place and thereby enabling her whole Fat Cat culture - which has dealt platitudes to the once loyal employees, whilst lining the execs pockets and promoting a bunch of inept middle managers. The hiring of bean counter Hurd, who has no business growth strategies beyond more expensive crap companies (EDS, Systar, StorageApps etc), and relentless cost cutting exercises. He has no other answers but will continue to fatten until he too is thrown out.

HP used to have and go it's own way and created markets in doing so. I worked there for 15 years and was releived to finally take the package. To those employees grumbling - leave!

For the Synstar folk - I sat near you in the HP Bristol office for a few years and listened to you at work. I would not complain too loudly, you have had an easy ride compared to many HPers. That's changed too. Deal with it. A strike will do you no good whatsoever.

The comment elsewhere on the Unite subscriptions is right on the money. They want middle class, middle income members. That is how their execs will get fat too.

Glad I am just a share holder these days.

I guess when Hurd finally goes (next year?) He will probably waste VJ and Livermoore beforehand. HP will get a patriach figure at the helm again. I can see it'"Back to basics", "The Classic HP Way is back for Customers and stakeholders" Blah Blah Blah.

Should be fun for anyone left who really cares about that business. David Attenborough and Stephen Fry could do a series about them. LOL

I do have great symapthy for the many loyal HPers shafted, but this is a grave new world, and yes, that sound is Bill and Dave spinning in their graves.

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Anonymous Coward

HP BS and the Fantasy of Capitalism

Funny how cutting costs means job losses for employees... yet big fat pay raises for executives.

HP CEO Mark Hurd made everyone take (at least) a 5% pay cut and claimed to lead the way by volunteering to take a 20% cut. Very noble, I thought... but later learned that was just to his base pay, meaning about a 0.68% cut of his total pay. Our Great Leader deliberately misled all of us, about a third of a million people.

Meanwhile, some people in my group and I are getting FIRED from HP for reasons that have to do with a product we don't even work on... no severance and no unemployment, and I live in a underdeveloped nation just south of Canada in which it's perfectly legal to do this.

A note to people saying, "Well, that's just capitalism. That's business. You're just a bunch of whiners. You don't like it, then go somewhere else."

So if you pay for, say, cable internet service, and they just never hook it up, do you just think to yourself, "Ah yes, one of the great lessons of capitalism. I have now learned this particular company takes your money and runs. I will do the bidding of my beloved capitalism by taking my mighty money to one of their competitors, and then they'll be sorry! It is great being the customer, having all the power in this wonderful system. If the Gods of Capitalism smile upon me, I won't run out of money before I find an internet provider who will actually connect me."?

Your fantasy of pure capitalism thankfully does not exist. It is (and must be) tempered by regulation, things like worker and consumer (and yes even business) protections. It is exactly the nature of capitalism to exploit everything that can be exploited, eroding or preferably destroying worker and consumer choice and rights. Read "The Jungle" to see just a glimpse of what capitalism wants to be.

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