The European Commission (EC) has agreed to investigate how it can provide support for employees who may be affected by Hewlett-Packard’s (HP’s) plans to cut 5,900 jobs in Europe.
The move follows French President Jacques Chirac’s call for the government to refer the firm to the EU head office, following concerns over a Europe-wide layoff to include 1,240 job cuts in France by 2008.
José Manuel Barroso, EC President, said that the EU could coordinate efforts to use public money to retrain workers, but could not prevent the HP job cuts from going ahead.
"At the moment the most urgent thing we can do…is see if we can help them," he added.
In mid-September, HP announced that it will slash 2,500 jobs in Britain and Germany in a bid to save $1.9 billion a year, according to a report from Reuters, and as many as 1,240 jobs in France.
But it is now thought that the tech giant may cut fewer jobs in France than it initially proposed, according to a French minister following talks with HP executives.
The news follows recent HP denials that it received state subsidies from France to create jobs.
In a move to get HP to reconsider its layoff plans in the country, French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin had led demands for HP to repay any subsidies it received for setting up in the country.