Typical .... of the modern wourld.
When I worked for IBM in the early '90's, it was a different company. There was respect for the employee, salaries were more than competitive, and the pension was about as generous as any non-banking organization. And anybody in a customer facing environment would probably get a car allowance or company car. Standby allowances were second to none in the industry, making it really worthwhile to be on call.
Even when people were made redundant (there was a recession in the early 90's if you remember), the pay-off was pretty generous, amounting to a larger that one multiplier of a months salary per completed year of service, together with a pension advancement to those people who were withing striking distance of the IBM retirement age (then 50).
IBM did not need to be unionized, as their in-house personnel policies were such as few people actually felt the need to talk to a union. Open door policies all the way up the management chain meant that you could find someone who would at least listen to any grievance. Employees felt supported, and it showed in their confidence and loyalty.
Since IBM moved into services, it appears that there has been a sea-change to the way they treat their employees. Jobs are being down-graded, senior techies are being disillusioned as a result of unachievable targets amounting to something close to constructive dismissal, and now all of the pension schemes are being down-graded, especially for those with the longest service records. Those more recently employed were only ever able to join a defined benefits scheme.
In addition, travel and working from home allowances are being cut, and the training budgets are being squeezed. Many technical jobs (almost all of the Support Centers) have gone abroad, pay reviews are more than 15 months apart, and never back-dated, and performance related pay rises (effectively the only pay rises available) are almost impossible to achieve. I know IBMers who have effectively had no, or less-than-inflation pay rises for 4-5 years. And woe betide you if you do not get at least an adequate in your performance review, as you're job is then in jeopardy.
So is it any wonder that the employees are now talking to Unions and their MP's? I am sure that my recollection is not just through rose-tinted glasses, as I never really achieved true-Blue status, always reserving my position as a bit of an outsider, but I am sorry to see it go this way.