IBM Warns Global Business Services Staff Of Redundancies

IBM is cutting staff once again, after it reportedly warns employees at its Global Business Services division that it is carrying out a ‘consultation process’.

The job cutting is, according to the Register, being targeted at Services staff across Northern Europe, with reportedly 100 positions expected to be axed in the UK alone.

The news will come as a blow for IBM staff heading into the Christmas holiday period, but comes on the back of many other job cutting rounds at Big Blue in recent years.

Job losses

The Register reported that IBM staff had been warned last Friday that they are entering a 45-day consultation process from 17 November.

An Employee Consultation Council is to be elected this week, comprised of management and staff representatives.

“The reason given was to restructure and re-skill for the hybrid cloud, AI and Intelligent Workflow markets,” one IBM insider told The Register. “Covid-19 was not mentioned.”

The redundancies are also intended to “reduce capacity in areas not aligned to [IBM’s] strategy.”

“The only confirmation in writing was the follow up email to a botched WebEx call that saw hundreds if not thousands of people unable to attend due to the maximum number of persons on the call being reached,” the insider told the Register.

It is reported that all UK staff at Global Business Services are at risk, with 325 positions in Denmark, and 70 positions in Norway, Sweden and Finland are also earmarked for redundancies.

“Having this loom over us during the festival period is, I agree, cold,” the source told the Register.

Other cuts

In May this year IBM confirmed it was once again swinging the headcount axe on its unfortunate staff.

The firm remained coy about the exact number of jobs it would cut, but reports at the time suggested it could be in the thousands.

IBM also is understood to have axed UK personnel in both GBS and Global Technology Services just months ago.

Indeed, it is reported that 180 people recently left GBS.

Age discrimination

IBM has got into trouble over its job culling in the past.

In April this year IBM settled an age discrimination lawsuit, after it accused of flouting rules by axing mostly older staff and moving jobs overseas (a huge percentage of IBM staffers are now based in India and Bangladesh).

It came after in-depth report by ProPublica and Mother Jones in March 2018 alleged that IBM had a systematic strategy of pushing out IBM staffers aged 40 and upwards, and replacing them with younger, and cheaper employees.

In that report, IBM is alleged to have laid off around 20,000 US employees over 40 years of age over the past five years.

However some IBM watchers believe this number is much higher.

Age discrimination is illegal in the United States thanks to the Employment Act, which became law in 1967.

But proving age discrimination can be difficult, and matters are not helped by it apparently being a fairly common practice in America, as it provides businesses with a smaller salary wage bill and lower benefits outlay.

The ProPublica and Mother Jones report in March 2018 triggered a lawsuit against IBM by Jonathan Langley, who was laid off in 2017 while serving as the worldwide program director and sales lead of IBM’s Bluemix cloud.

Langley has reportedly claimed that IBM laid him off specifically because of his age, then 59, in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).

He had been with IBM for 24 years.

Big Blue is reportedly still facing hundreds of similar age discrimination claims across the United States.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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