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back to article Big Blue eye glares at UK workforce

IBM has confirmed it is considering making more UK staff redundant, although no final decision has been made. A conference call this morning informed all UK staff at IBM's Global Services Delivery unit that there would likely be redundancies, depending on the results of the consultation. We were sent the following statement: " …

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Unhappy

"Consultation"

A 90-day "consultation" usually means "we have decided who we're going to fire already. However, under UK law we have to have a 90-day consultation first."

(I don't work at IBM but was at a similar multinational. There, the "consultation" included individual interviews with all the lab techs to tell them there was a "risk" of losing their jobs and "discuss what could be done to try to keep their jobs". Everyone knew the labs were closing down and all the techs were going to be made redundant; yet under UK law they were required to have that pointless meeting).

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WTF?

and?

Welcome to the business world!

At least with a 90-day consultation you're getting, at the very least, 3 months of continued salary and time to be one of the first (ok, maybe not you...) smarter people to get their CV updated and flung around agencies and IT career websites.

Roles come and go, business transfers from area to area, this is very much the modern business landscape, especially in IT!

It's happened to me too, but people need to remain positive. If you've relocated with your family to somewhere 'out in the sticks', relying on one major large employer in the area, then unfortunately you have to face that moving to somewhere else is likely the best way to secure employment. Even if that employment is not secure, from a long-term perspective.

The redundancy procedures in this country are excellent, and in many cases are not a complete sham. As soon as it's mentioned, get your CV out in the wide world, even if you do end up keeping your role, you may find you don't like the changes in place.

People lose realism when they stay in the same role for years on end. Don't be one of them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Consultation

That's exactly the kind of consultation my employer is going through at the moment except they're not even bothering with the pretense. They just piled us all into a room one morning (with a frankly ridiculous number of extra security grunts bussed in) and said "we're closing the site and 750 of your scandinavian-run telecomms jobs will be gone". Consultation is just negotiation of redundancy payment terms.

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IT Career bahahahahhahahaha!!!

That's pretty much my reaction to any youngsters that have any computer skills and are planning on entering this field upon completion of a university undergraduate/graduate degree. In spite of the specialized technical knowledge you possess management will always view you as an overpaid factory worker.

I completely agree with A.C. - working in a multinational publicly traded corporation is all about embracing transience. Keep the CV updated and circulating, maintain contact with collegues still employed in your field and don't take anything personally. "Just how many corners can we cut?" is the new corporate mantra meaning you will always be expected to do more and more with less and less. It can be frustrating at times when you go above and beyond the call of duty working long hours and weekends in the hopes that your efforts will be recognised and rewarded. Truthfully any major accomplishments are usually forgotten within a week and have the consequence of raising expectations. I suppose I should be grateful for the certificate of appreciation made with Powerpoint and printed on our color printer which was awarded to me even though I have to yet again cancel my plans for the weekend with my fiancee due to another last minute high-priority project.

I've been here for a little over 2.5 years - that's a lonngg time for IT. I've had a few offers for less money which is why I am still here. I've worked at enough firms to know that if I jump nothing will change other than the name of the company that is printed on my paycheck. I guess this what recruiters mean by "dynamic, fast paced environment" No one knows what the fuck is going on and it's just one constant knee-jerk reaction after another.

In short, never get too comfortable at your job. It is just a paycheck after all. Always do what's best for you not your employer and have as much loyalty to them as they have to you.

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Anonymous Coward

Redundancy on top of Forced Early Retirement?

Last year IBM made over 10,000 employees redundant in the US - and transferred the jobs offshore. In the UK, IBM has been engaged in a Redundancy by Stealth programme, which has just recently been exposed in the UK Parliament. The recording of the debate is at:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/democracylive/hi/house_of_commons/newsid_8452000/8452051.stm

and the transcript is at:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmhansrd/cm100113/halltext/100113h0010.htm#10011364000002

This shows that IBM UK staff have strong support in the UK Parliament, and there was very strong criticism of IBM UK's actions from MPs of all parties. It is now clear that IBM UK has been planning for some time to combine closure of the final salary pension schemes to existing members with a programme of redundancy by stealth aimed at staff over 50. Over 800 staff have been forced to 'volunteer' for early retirement, so leaving without any of the usual redundancy or early retirement packages. Some have already left, the remainder will leave in tranches over the next few months.

IBM UK has taken great care to keep within the letter of the law with these changes, but this debate shows that it has not avoided real damage to its reputation.

The Minister who replied to the debate can do very little to help, but she was very supportive to the employees and very damning of the comapany's actions. Her concluding words were:

"It is important that the IBM board looks at our debate today and that it takes due notice of the surprise, worry and anger that have been expressed. I have a great deal of sympathy with those feelings, which have been well reflected in the debate, and I hope that IBM will take note of them."

It seems that the forced early retirement of over 800 employees in IBM UK - which is still not complete - is not enough.

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Coat

Big Blue, perchance?

"It has come out of the blue..."

Where else was it going to come from ?

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MPs comments not worth anything

Firstly let me just say that the poor sods on the end of this have my deepest sympathy and I sincerely hope that they find alternative employement quickly.

However, I cant help feeling cynical about comments made by MPs who are all on the take but it just depends on much they are taking..

If any IBM bigwigs were located over here and just happened to be donors to whichever party do you really think MPs would care?

Remember also that we are in an election year so this might just be self promotion.

It should be written into law that when a company pulls out it needs to pay back all of the tax breaks its received plus interest at 50%

This money should then be equally distributed among the workers they have systematically shafted.

That would make them think twice.

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Anonymous Coward

When......

.....are the UK workforce going to rebel against the destruction of the final salary pension scheme?

The 20th century was spent giving workers a decent send-off at the end of their working lives. But the 21st century has started by stripping away those pension rights. This is all done in the name of corporate profitability (and Gordon the Clown putting his hand into the pension pot).

For me, I would much rather see workers rewarded with decent pensions as they were 20 years ago, and not by some scandalous money purchase scheme which always leaves the worker worse off. Sure, corporate profitability is very important, however a decent pension scheme is a cost of doing business - and if THAT requirement was levelled across the whole of industry (and make money purchase schemes illegal) then the equillibrium would be there and companies wouldn't be forced to consider closing down lucrative final salary schemes.

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Unhappy

When........

Are employees in the UK workforce going to realise that the company they work for really doesn't give a rats ass about them. As an employee of a multinational company you are an EXPENSE.

Every year at this time the mulinational mega corp I work for tells us how well we did, not well enough to acheive 100% of our bonus though and oh, by the way we are staring consultations to make redundancies in order to provide better efficiencies and maybe reach our targets for the coming year. Thats EVERY YEAR they make redundancies just after Christmas, sometimes in the summer too.

At this rate I calculate that there will only be sales droides and managers left in the company by 2020 and then it will fail because they wil be unable to fulfil any of the orders the sales droids managed to secure :-)

Look, I didn't day it was right and proper or fair, it is very unfair after giving years of loyal service that people are losing jobs / pensions / benefits but this is BUSINESS, there is no room for the corporation to care about you, they ONLY have a duty to their shareholders.

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Grenade

Are the looking for recommendations?

I don't work for IBM, but I really hope they haven't already selected who is going to get the bullet and are merely jumping through the necessary legal hoops. There are some IBM'ers that I'd really like to recommend for the chop.

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Meanwhile in IBM HQ....

.....IBM'ers offered bounty payments of up to £7K to get their mates to join big blue. Hundreds of positions on offer.

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Unhappy

Friends?

The bonus is more if they are female, less if male. I wonder if this is discriminatory? I guess they get paid less in the long run in most companies (don't know about IBM though - salary discussions are strictly taboo).

I wouldn't recommend working here to my friends, only people I didn't care about whether they became underpaid, overworked, and not valued by the executives running the company. Or those who didn't like spending time with their families and actually wanted to live away from home most of the time. These are all experiences I know people are having at this company.

Oh and the other reason is I wouldn't necessarily trust them to pay me the bonus. Yes, that's how bad it *feels* to many of us at the moment.

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