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IBM ‘Rebalances’ By Axing 1,200 Staff

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Big Blue has reportedly laid off as many as 1,200 workers, mostly in United States and Canada

IBM is reportedly undertaking another bout of job cuts after Alliance@IBM, the official site for the IBM Employee’s Union CWA Local 1701, said that at least 1,202 IBM employees have been laid off.

The layoffs are typically known as “resource actions” at Big Blue.

More Cuts?

From Alliance@IBM statistics, most of the job cuts come from the IBM Global Technology Services (GTS) unit. But the IBM Global Business Services (GBS) and IBM Software Group units took hits, as well.

Lee Conrad, national director of Alliance@IBM, said IBM has a history of making head count cuts early in the year, typically around February through April, and he said he would not be surprised to see more cuts come.

According to Alliance@IBM, the IBM job cuts include:

  • GTS Public Sector Delivery/IBM Global Account: 59
  • GTS Delivery Application Hosting: 183
  • Corporate Marketing and Communications: 18
  • STG Systems Agenda Delivery: 106
  • GTS finance: 23
  • GTS Delivery Security Risk Management: 39
  • BT/IT Global Workforce Web Processes: 22
  • Software Group East Region Sales: 40
  • GTS MTS Delivery solutions/support: 23
  • GTS Delivery SSO: 57
  • GTS ITS: 128
  • GTS Delivery Distributed Server Mgmt.: 179
  • AMS Commercial Delivery: 118
  • GBS Consulting Services Industrial Sector: 25
  • BT/IT Application & Infrastructure service Mgmt.: 78
  • ISC Global Procurement: 50
  • GBS Application Innovation Services: 54
  • Sum=1,202

Those numbers are based on severance documents shared by IBM employees with the Alliance@IBM advocacy group.

IBM did not respond immediately to an inquiry from eWEEK regarding the layoffs. However, in a report on WRAL Tech Wire – which covers the Research Triangle Park, N.C., area where IBM employs a large number of workers – an IBM spokesperson confirmed that a “rebalancing” was underway.

Prompted to expand on what the “rebalancing” means, KRAL reports the IBM spokesperson said: “That means reducing in some areas and hiring in others – based on shifts in technology and client demand. This flexibility allows IBM to remain competitive and relevant in an industry that is constantly changing. And given the competitive nature of our business, we do not publicly discuss the details of our staffing plans.”

Meanwhile, Conrad insists that the layoffs in the US are part of an IBM strategy to limit the number of Big Blue employees in the US in favour of lower-cost workers in emerging countries.

IBM, which employs more than 425,000 people around the world, in 2009, stopped releasing figures on the number of employees it has in each country. In 2009, IBM listed 105,000 employees in the US, down from nearly 134,000 in 2005. Now, Alliance@IBM estimates that in 2011 IBM employed 98,000 workers in the US.

The numbers of US-based IBM employees, by years, break down as follows:

  • 2011: 98,000
  • 2010: 101,000
  • 2009: 105,000
  • 2008: 115,000
  • 2007: 121,000
  • 2006: 127,000
  • 2005: 133,789