Cuts take place worldwide
The restructuring process, which would see as many as 15,000 jobs being cut globally, including India, Brazil, and the European region.
"The estimate of jobs cut globally is 15,000," international coordinator at the Alliance@IBM (official IBM employees union) Lee Conrad told an Indian news agency, PTI.
Similar cuts are happening in Brazil, according to WRAL Techwire which reported that an IBMer reached out directly to the website after reading reports about layoffs in India.
The same thing is happening in Brazil and the story needs to be told, the worker said.
"So far the numbers are close to 450 this time," the worker who asked not to be identified said. Major cuts also were made in Brazil last year as part of a work force reduction.
Alliance@IBM, which is seeking to unionize North American workers, said Thursday afternoon that some 1,500 layoffs are expected in Brazil.
Lee Conrad, who heads up Alliance@IBM and is a retired IBM worker, had predicted earlier this week that layoffs would start in Europe as soon as the company, unions and governments were able to strike agreements. Unlike the U.S., he said, many EU countries are very strict when allowing corporate cuts.
On the Alliance@IBM website Thursday, posts noted possible layoffs in the works in Australia and Germany,
The tech website stated that the latest "rebalancing" of Big Blue is heading west, with the first reports of job losses in the U.S. coming from New York. There, a "few"contractors have been "walked out."
Speculation has been that layoffs in the U.S. would begin either Feb. 19 or Feb. 26.
"Reports from Europe and South America are also coming in. In Europe, due to union contracts, the targeted cuts must be negotiated," Alliance noted in an update. "Some cuts will be voluntary."
The layoff count as off Thursday evening as compiled by the Alliancebased on reports from workers and affiliated unions in Europe:
- Belgium, 105
- Argentina, 600
- Brazil, 1500
- Netherlands, 240
- Norway, 35
- France, 480
- Italy, 430
Interestingly, the reductions in Italy include 60 workers who sources there say are "being moved out to Lenovo."
Lenovo is in the process of buying IBM's x86 server business, which is part of the STG group. About 2,000 IBMers in Research Triangle Park are expected to be transferred to Lenovo, which operates its executive headquarters in Morrisville. The total is around 7,500 worldwide.
If IBM cuts follow a similar plan as implemented in 2013, some 13,000 layoffs across its workforce of more than 434,000 are expected. That 2013 plan led to hundreds of layoffs in North Carolina and about 3,500 across North America, based on documents and sources. IBM still employs about 9,500 people across North Carolina.
Lay-offs could be done sensibly
Globally, other tech firms like Intel and Texas Instruments are reported to be laying off 5,000 and 1, 100 employees respectively.
Even in India, there is speculation that iconic IT firms may well lay off up to 2,500 staff each during the January-March quarter.
“Sacking, though a tough choice should be done when needed but sensibly and not in such a inhuman manner. We know that companies have to do it, across the world and even in the US, there were so many lay-offs during recession.,” says an IBMer on condition of anonymity.
“Hundreds of us have left our cities and made Bangalore our home because we were employed by IBM here. IBM was such a well-reputed company and we were so proud to work here. There are several premises where IBM operates in and each has become a landmark in the city. Tell an auto rickshaw driver that some address is near the IBM building in say, Bannerghata or Hebbal, he takes us unerringly to the correct address. Our parents are also so shocked at this turn of events” said another young IBMer, who came from Kolkatta.
Real estate business has been booming because of the IT population in Bangalore where many of them have bought apartments on housing loans. “ Banks would immediately sanction loans when we say we work for IBM. Now, the question is how are we going to pay the monthly installments without a job?” laments another IBMer who used to for work with the STG group.
In India, Bangalore is a key centre for IBM with major office blocks in Manyata Embassy Business Park in Hebbal and Embassy Golf Links near Domlur and Bannerghata which are sprawling campuses employing thousands of engineers.
When contacted by PTI, an IBM India spokesperson said, "As reported in our recent earnings briefing, IBM continues to rebalance its workforce to meet the changing requirements of its clients and to pioneer new, high value segments of the IT industry."
"To that end, IBM is positioning itself to lead in areas such as Cloud, Analytics and Cognitive Computing and investing in these priority areas. For example, we have recently committed $1 billion to our new Watson unit and $1.2 billion to expand our Cloud footprint around the world," the spokesperson further said.
— Sufia Tippu is a freelance writer for EE Times. She writes the blog India Chip Chat.