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HP reports "healthy" response to give-backs

Hewlett-Packard says it has seen "healthy" participation rates for its recent cost-cutting measures, which included asking employees to take voluntary pay cuts or vacations.

SINGAPORE--A Hewlett-Packard representative said the company has seen "healthy" participation rates for its recent cost-cutting measures, which included asking employees to take voluntary pay cuts or vacations.

"We have a very healthy participation rate both at the worldwide and Asia-Pacific levels," HP Asia spokeswoman Cecilia Pang said.

However, she declined to reveal how many staff had taken part in the program.

As previously reported, HP asked employees--including its 14,000 workers in Asia--to voluntarily take a pay cut, vacation or a combination of both to help cut costs. At the time of the announcement, Pang stressed that the program was "completely voluntary" and that "there won't be any consequences" for employees who don't participate.

A German trade union has advised workers there not to comply with the cost-cutting measures, for fear of setting a precedent. HP employs about 90,000 people worldwide, with about half in California.

Pang said employees in Asia were expected to reply to the company with their decisions by the second week of July.

Pang also noted last month that the company was taking short- and long-term measures on "a business-by-business basis to reduce expenses and generate revenue near term, as well as to create more competitive cost structures for the long run."

In January, HP Asia-Pacific said it would cut fewer than 280 jobs from its existing 14,000 employees in the region (including Japan) as part of a regional marketing restructuring program.

Staff writer Anand Menon reported from Singapore.