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:
and the transcript is at:
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.