back to article IBM to GTS staff: Not volunteering to leave with a redundo cheque? We'll give you a helping hand

IBM has slammed shut the window of opportunity for Global Technology Services (GTS) staff to put themselves forward for voluntary redundancy, meaning a requisite number will now be forcibly ejected. The process began in late February and early March for different parts of the GTS division. Big Blue put 1,248 frontline techies …

  1. mt1

    I went through this process over 10 years ago with IBM this is exactly how the process works, offer voluntary if takeup is not enough you move to mandatory

    1. Stumpy

      Isn't this the way it works anywhere? Organization decides it needs to reduce headcount, so asks for those who want to go to throw their hat in the ring. If they don't get enough volunteering themselves for the chop, they move to direct, mandatory redundancy.?

      1. GremlinUK

        Yes, generally speaking. Though there are organisations who'll throw people out with 24 hours notice... and learn to regret it via the Industrial Tribunal system... and actually, not learn at all, and do it again five years later. (Some bosses just can't seem to learn)

      2. trevorde

        I thought companies had given up on voluntary redundancies because all the good people take it and they get left with the dead wood. Mind you, with the number of Resource Actions at Big Blue, all that's left is probably dead wood by now.

      3. Mark 110

        My current employer - global bank - has cancelled all restructuring that wasn't already a done deal til at least September/October. Fair play. The right thing to do.

        As a contractor I remain nervous and trying my best to be indispensible . .

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Are you inside IR35? If you're a contractor global bank is not your employer, at least not unless you own global bank. Your employer should be your own company.

          1. Mike the FlyingRat
            Facepalm

            @Dr. Syntax

            I think that he implied it.

            Even if he was an employee of a contracting firm, he could end up losing his job due to a limited bench time and no one is hiring at the moment for consultants.

            However there are still projects and work going on. People are getting hired as we speak.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        No its not the same in most places, I suspect in the UK they have tougher labour laws that requires IBM to look for volunteers first. Maybe its how they "prove" they have tried to re-deploy them first, before firing them.

        In the rest of the world, where they can get away with it, they try to get rid of the most expensive employees first, which usually means the oldest.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "No its not the same in most places, I suspect in the UK they have tougher labour laws that requires IBM to look for volunteers first."

          Context (from the article) is clearly the UK, though ...

      5. LucreLout Silver badge

        Isn't this the way it works anywhere? Organization decides it needs to reduce headcount, so asks for those who want to go to throw their hat in the ring.

        No. One of the banks I used to work at provided no volunteering opportunities. Redundancies were always the lowest performing 10%, assessed and cut at least once per year even during good times, and simply more rounds of that if costs had to come down.

        I had a discussion with an asshole boss I was trying to get away from and HR, and they basically told me I was so far ahead of my then pay grade in terms of performance that I effectively had a job for life, but knowing I wanted to leave, it was going to be THAT job for life. They weren't bluffing - I thought they might be and called it, and I still had the same job 2 rounds later, so I had to walk with nothing.

    2. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      I suspect that 10 years ago, the statutory minimum was not the only inducement?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They are offering only statutory redundancy pay (one weeks pay per year of service). The right thing for any IBM employee to do is keep their heads down and start job hunting, why volunteer for something that's no better than what you might get anyway?

      1. The Pi Man

        Statutory redundancy in the UK limits the number of years and salary. It’s worth piss all.

  2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Terminator

    Meet the new boss

    Same as the old Boss

    {The Who, 'Won't get fooled again'}

    1. Mike the FlyingRat

      Re: Meet the new boss

      He's not the same.

      But that doesn't mean he can immediately change the culture.

      The only people who are secure are the bean counters who do nothing more than the paperwork.

      Of course they were all off shored to lower cost offices already with a few resources within the country of work.

  3. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  4. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

    So, Covid 19,..

    ... has seen Microsoft promote Teams, and tbh, now we've been WFH I've been using it a lot more, and I've quite warmed to it. MS have been advertising Teams, and how it is keeping people working together, and collaborating. IBM were advertising before Covid 19,... haven't seen the ads recently,... and well, what have they got to offer us in our hour of need? Give it ten years and IBM will be beyond recognition, living off patent royalties, and possibly still alive in the mainframe market,... although I'm in the middle of a presentation by Microsoft at the moment, as we're moving more to Azure, and well, on prem compute is looking like it doesn't have much of a future, bar maybe banks and research establishments.

    1. mikecoppicegreen

      Re: So, Covid 19,..

      Is Lotus Notes still a thing?

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Less and less, but I'm still making a living out of it.

      2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        Re: So, Covid 19,..

        Notes was flogged off to HCL

        https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/12/07/hcl_18bn_ibm_software/

        LotusHCL Notes

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: So, Covid 19,..

      "on prem compute is looking like it doesn't have much of a future"

      It'll be back. Everything goes in, out and back in fashion in IT.

      1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

        Re: So, Covid 19,..

        @Dr Syntax: "Everything goes in, out"

        KInda, we had partitions and subsystems on our Mainframes and Midrange kit decades ago, long before full OS virtualisation, but it was the same idea I guess,.. before we starting hurling discrete tin at racks like there was no tomorrow..... but with cloud, getting your data back is going to be the sticking point I fear.

    3. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: So, Covid 19,..

      "MS have been advertising Teams, and how it is keeping people working together"

      Yeah, on that subject....anyone know how much the Met Police have been bribed?

      Should the Police be taking money from businesses to promote their products? If so I've a Cryptocurrency business I need promoting.

    4. Andrew 99

      Re: So, Covid 19,..

      +private cloud to anywhere that wants to cash in on privacy and data sovereignty concerns.

    5. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: So, Covid 19,..

      You could <choke> use <giggle> Sametime. It's just <chortle> as good as Teams<guffaw>.

      <Uncontrolled laughter>

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    my proudest moment

    In my professional life was to engineer my redundancy. I wanted to go sailing and having helped others through the process as an employee rep I knew the process and managed to strong arm them into giving me the push.

    If I can just do the same in a couple of years early retirement will be on the cards.

    1. andy 103 Silver badge

      Re: my proudest moment

      With all due respect if that's your proudest moment your career doesn't seem to have been one you particularly liked. My proudest moment has been finding a position that makes me happy to do what I do every day.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: my proudest moment

        "My proudest moment has been finding a position that makes me happy to do what I do every day."

        Just like the OP.

      2. Roger Kynaston Bronze badge
        Mushroom

        Re: my proudest moment

        Work is something I do to pay for the boat. I don't mind it and am OK with being a lowly sys admin but I much prefer sailing - especially when I can have rum punch with Martinique rum in it. So, yes, persuading an outsourcing company that I was surplus to requirements was a proud achievement.

        <pompous git>

        I don't solely measure my self worth by the work I do but how I live my life

        </pg>

        1. andy 103 Silver badge

          Re: my proudest moment

          "I don't solely measure my self worth by the work I do but how I live my life"

          @Roger Kynaston - since work represents quite a big portion of most people's life I'd suggest you'd do better at finding a career that makes you happy. Since that's part of how you live your life.

          It is possible to both enjoy your work and go sailing... That was my point really.

    2. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: my proudest moment

      An old manager of mine had his resignation letter in his back pocket when he was pulled in the office to be told he was being offered redundancy with 6 month's pay.

      As you can imagine, hewas very upset at the news.

  6. circusmole

    When they did this at...

    .. HP (pre-HPE) HR were almost killed in the rush and buried in EoW (Expression of Wish) request forms :-) Mind you that was before Covid-19.

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      Re: When they did this at...

      Yes, along with a number of others, we grabbed the chance - and 10 years later are still very happy with our own business.

    2. Denarius Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: When they did this at...

      takes me back a decade or two. CSC (remember them, I thought not) tried this at Y2K bubble burst. InHuman Remains were deluged. Call was cancelled after a day or so in Oz. Odd how the best and brightest were first in queue to go. Corporate amnesia could be an interesting study for a psych student of big organisations. The valuing of mass stupidity make anti social media look normal

  7. Gene Cash Silver badge

    IBM postpone redundencies?

    Are you kidding?

    > GTS was still losing revenue in Q1

    I wonder how many GTS customers are now ex-GTS customers since IBM bought 'em?

    1. Ken 16 Silver badge

      Re: IBM postpone redundencies?

      I don't think you know who GTS is - it's the descendent of IBM Global Services in the same way BCS is the descendent of PwC Consulting after the sorting hat of 2003.

      They've been cutting costs by cutting experienced staff ever since and losing revenue by cutting experienced staff at the same time.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: IBM postpone redundencies?

        There are several problems.

        Firstly, IBM keep bidding below market rate to grab contracts. If they win, then immediately they are operating at a loss. Most of the bids appear to be formed with offshoring to 'cheaper' locations (unless otherwise expressly stated in the contract). Where people are protected by employment laws, the clock starts ticking. Where they are not, they are terminated as soon as IBM can tick a box to say that some form of knowledge transfer has taken place (regardless of the quality).

        For the UK, employment law gives people a little protection, but not much. Employee Forums - pretty much another tick-box exercise by IBM. There isn't a damned thing anyone can do to change IBM's mind. You can point out quality of service issues. You can point out how unhappy the customer is. You can point out the sky is blue. Doesn't matter one bit. Recently its got to the point where it doesn't even matter how good you are.

        Someone elsewhere in the thread alluded to only 'dead wood' being left. Most of the "dead wood" is cut away as soon as its possible to do so. IBM are now busy chopping away at the trunk, and the tree is going to fall over real soon.

  8. trevorde

    At least one full time job

    At this rate, Employee Consultation Committee (ECC) will be a permanent position!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The root cause of this issue started for IBM some years ago.. back in 2010-2012

    In this period senior executive level decisions were made to invest IBM’s profits in share repurchases (also driving Executive bonuses) and the infamous 2015 EPS (Earnings Per Share) Roadmap. This has subsequently been shown to be in stark contrast with Amazon, Microsoft and Google (GCP) who were investing hard in Public Cloud capabilities and capacity. IBM should and could have been a leader in Hybrid Cloud capabilities (linking together public and private cloud abilities and needs) but decided not to prioritise the required people, process, automation and DC capacity investments .. the rest is now history and like watching a car crash in slow motion over and over again, best ask where Is SJP now, retired to the Hamptons maybe ?

    1. Denarius Silver badge

      Re: The root cause of this issue started for IBM some years ago.. back in 2010-2012

      I think it was earlier. About 1994 when an outsider CEO came in who did not understand mainframe business model and merely saw a chance for a big one of bonus. management droid bonuses seem to be the motivating force for very short term decision making. To regenerate industries bonuses should be scrapped. One should not need institutional bribery to do the job one is paid for.

      for what it is worth Cringely has done many articles on IBMs slow death

      1. Yes Me Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: The root cause of this issue started for IBM some years ago.. back in 2010-2012

        "About 1994 when an outsider CEO came in who did not understand mainframe business model..."

        Wrong. Lou Gerstner saved the company when it was about to choke to death on the mainframe-plus-SNA business model that was already obsoleted by commodity servers and the Internet. Although he did a bit of the share option incentive stuff, and share buy-backs to enhance the bull market, it was the next guy (Sam) who started the ruinous accountant-based "shareholder value" "services-driven" crap that ruined the company, and who also picked another one like him (Ginni) who just kept cranking the same handle. It will be great if Arvind Krishna can correct things, but if not, IBM will join DEC and ICL in Computer Company Heaven.

        There are signs that Arvind is doing things right, like stopping the share buy-backs:

        https://www.nextplatform.com/2020/04/21/the-next-ibm-platform-revisited/

        Paris, because IBM paid for a lot of Hilton nights for me at one point.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    IBM's death spiral

    Odd thing is that when employees are offered voluntary redundancy the best ones often take it as they know they will be able to find a different project and are always looking to better themselves. There's a thing called Price's Law; "50% of the work is done by the square root of the total number of people who participate in the work." Or to illustrate --> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_WBWCVmmrc

  11. fredesmite Bronze badge
    Unhappy

    India Business Machine

    Every IBM grunt is suffering from

    I've Been Molested

    Syndrome

  12. fredesmite Bronze badge
    Happy

    Cheer up all you BLUE people !

    Ginny is walking away with a cool $20M !

    At least ONE IBM'er survived to retirement

  13. Thomas F Thurlow

    IBM: I Been Moved

    In the 1970's when IBM was known as a company with great benefits that was doing very well financially,

    it still moved employees around a lot. IBM was said to stand for "I Been Moved".

    IBM has not done so well the past 20 years. Retirement benefits if one completes 30 years with IBM now are a small fraction

    of what they were in 1970. Warren Buffett bailed on IBM stock sometime in the past 10 years.

    But as articles like this indicate, IBM still moves people around a lot.

    Thanks,

    Tom

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