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HP workers in Asia consider pay cut, vacation

Hewlett-Packard asks its 14,000 employees in Asia to either take a pay cut, vacation or a combination of both, mirroring recent U.S. cost-cutting moves.

SINGAPORE--Hewlett-Packard has asked its 14,000 employees in Asia to either take a pay cut, vacation or a combination of both, mirroring recent cost-cutting moves in the United States.

"This is a completely voluntary program," said HP Asia spokeswoman Cecilia Pang. "Employees can opt not to participate...there won't be any consequences if they don't."

Palo Alto, Calif.-based HP last week asked U.S. employees to take a 10 percent pay cut, or eight of their paid leave days, or a combination of a 5 percent pay cut and four vacation days.

The cost-cutting measures are said to run from next month to October this year. HP employs about 90,000 employees worldwide, with about half in California.

In a telephone interview, Pang said that its staff in Asia "will be given similar options." She declined to elaborate.

She said employees in the region would have to reply to the company by the second week of July with their decision.

"A combination of short- and long-term actions are now being taken 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," Pang said.

Short-term measures include "asking employees to take additional days off and travel and hiring restrictions," she said.

Pang said long-term measures include restructuring initiatives the company had already undertaken such as "increasing management span of control, more aggressive performance management, and marketing restructuring to eliminate redundancies."

In January, HP Asia Pacific said that it expects to cut less than 280 jobs from its existing 14,000 employees in the region, including Japan.

The layoffs in Asia Pacific followed the company's decision to cut 2 percent of its worldwide work force of 88,500 in January.

HP has more than 10 offices across Asia Pacific including Singapore, Japan, Korea, China, India and Australia. In Singapore alone, there are about 6,000 staff, Pang noted.

Staff writer Anand Menon reported from Singapore.