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RENATO CASTELLO
May 16, 2009 11:30pm

ABOUT 1000 workers at a Lockleys call centre have been asked by employer EDS to take a pay cut and have no guarantee their jobs are safe.

The data services provider’s parent company, computer giant Hewlett Packard, is embarking on a global plan to cut wages by up to 20 per cent in response to the global economic recession.

But Adelaide EDS staff have been told not to assume their jobs are secure, even if they agree to the cut.

Under the proposal, staff would give up 2.5 per cent of their pay and any salary-related benefits from June 1.

The Finance Sector Union has urged EDS employees to reject the offer, claiming it is illegal under present wage agreements.

Hewlett Packard, which bought EDS last year, announced in February it would slash salaries globally after first quarter profits fell 13 per ent to $2.5 billion. In an email sent to Lockleys staff – who process mortgages for Westpac – EDS said “cost actions” were needed in the face of the “current challenges”.

“We greatly appreciate your understanding and support in this difficult and challenging time, and trust that your efforts to co-operate with company policies will yield positive results for the operations of the company,” the company said in the email, titled “salary reduction letter”, a copy of which was obtained by the Sunday Mail.

“Please note that your acceptance of this request does not constitute a guarantee of ongoing employment.”

EDS does not comment on how many staff work at the Lockleys centre, but the FSU estimates the number to be about 1000. The union’s SA/NT secretary, Debbie Black, said employees could lose up to $1000 a year.

“We believe what they are asking staff to do is not entirely legal in the current industrial relations climate,” she said.

EDS Asia Pacific and Japan executive relations manager Tamara Plakalo said the pay cuts would allow it to emerge from the recession in a “powerful position”.

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