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By | Chris Williams 2nd March 2016 21:25

IBM slices heavy axe through staff in the US

After rumors of upcoming layoffs, Big Blue kicks off round of 'mass' cuts

IBM axed a wedge of workers today across the US as part of an "aggressive" shakeup of its business.

Big Blue was due to lay off some staff at its Global Technology Services (GTS) wing in America back in January. That headcount chop was postponed, with the cuts being pushed back to this week and with more than GTS workers affected.

Many of those losing their jobs are being offered a maximum of one month of severance pay – much less than the amount offered in previous rounds of cuts. This squeeze on payouts was introduced in January. They'll also get 90 days to clear their desks and find new work.

"IBM is aggressively transforming its business to lead in a new era of cognitive and cloud computing," a Big Blue spokesman told The Register this afternoon.

"This includes remixing skills to meet client requirements. To this end, IBM hired more than 70,000 professionals in 2015, many in these key skills areas, and currently has more than 25,000 open positions."

About those numbers: IBM employed about 380,000 people worldwide at the end of 2015; about 70,000 people left the biz that year and, through hiring and acquisitions, it added 70,000 to its ranks.

Lee Conrad, an ex-IBMer and national coordinator of the Alliance@IBM union, confirmed the layoffs on Wednesday: "IBM is having a resource action aka job cuts today. Reports are coming from around the country," he told us.

Conrad said jobs are being shed at IBM's Cloud Managed Services; Application Management Services; Global Services Parts Operations; Technical Support Services; and GTS.

"Workers are also reporting their work is being moved offshore to Hungary and Brazil," he added. Some staffers have complained that they've been training their replacements in India for a while now and thus knew the writing was on the wall. Some are upset that they have lost their jobs while their H-1B visa-holding colleagues are allowed to stay.

"I am a GTS Strategic Outsourcing casualty of the mass firing today," one employee told Conrad's Watching IBM Facebook page.

"My manager told me it was big and widespread, and I'd be hearing from a lot of people that will also be notified today. My official end date is May 31, 2016 – 90 days – and the severance package is one month.

"I was encouraged to look for jobs inside IBM and was told that they are 'plentiful' and 'open'. Even if I were to believe that, I'm not sure why I would stay, looking over my shoulder every month or so waiting for the IBM axe-wielders to come for me again. I'm looking forward to moving on and leaving this nightmare behind me. I wish everyone good luck, whether you are staying or going. I'm not sure which group is going to need it more."

At the end of last month, Big Blue warned 1,352 GTS workers in the UK that they are at risk of redundancy with 185 roles definitely on the chopping block.

Quite a few of those losing their jobs today were longtime IBMers, judging from what we've heard.

This time last year, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty said she was going to focus her company on "strategic imperatives," including cloud, data analytics, mobility, social networking, and security. ®

Ping us an email, please, if you are affected by today's cuts.

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