Layoffs to Continue at IBM, Sources Say

 
 
By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2009-01-28
 
 
 

Layoffs continue at IBM, particularly in the company's software and sales and distribution groups, where more than 2,800 people have been let go over the last week, with several more expected to be laid off over the next several days in other parts of the company, sources said

According to an organization called Alliance@IBM, IBM has laid off at least 1,419 workers in its Software Group and another 1,449 in Sales and Distribution. Lee Conrad, national coordinator of Alliance@IBM, said the numbers come from documents his organization obtained from laid-off workers. The documents, basically separation agreements, indicate how many people have been affected by what IBM calls a "resource action."

Moreover, in an interview with eWEEK on Jan. 27, Conrad said his organization had heard from employees in IBM's Systems and Technology Group-which manufactures the company's hardware systems-that they had been laid off. Conrad said people from IBM's STG facilities in Burlington, Vt.; Rochester, Minn.; East Fishkill, N.Y.; and Research Triangle Park, N.C., contacted Alliance@IBM. Alliance@IBM, which is working to organize IBM employees into a union, expects at least "400 to 500" jobs to be eliminated at each of the four STG sites listed, he said.

"We expect further cuts over the next couple of days in other IBM divisions," Conrad said. "We expect this to keep going right through the month. It's really unacceptable to us that IBM is not releasing the numbers or locations on these cuts. ... It's up to IBM to come clean on this."

Unlike the initial round of layoffs that began Jan. 21, IBM officials have acknowledged that there have indeed been layoffs, but would not get more specific on the extent of the layoffs or whether more would come and from where.

However, an executive at a software company that competes with IBM told eWEEK that he recently hired what he referred to as "one of the IBM layoff-ees." The executive, who asked not to be identified, added that although the economy is reeling, now is a time for software companies like his to find some seasoned talent with experience working on and selling big projects-like the folks at IBM.

According to a Wall Street Journal account of the layoffs, "It couldn't easily be determined what percentage of workers in the two groups was affected. But one large category-software engineers-suffered layoffs of 839 out of 9,784, or about 8.6 percent, according to a tally by one person who received a notice."

The WSJ account also noted that in the sales and distribution group, layoffs included 20 marketing managers and nine vice presidents. More than 150 vice presidents remain in the group, according to the documents. 

 


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