More IBM Layoffs Coming?

Even as IBM is reportedly in talks to acquire Sun Microsystems, it is looking increasingly like IBM is set to announce another round of layoffs. Layoffs are expected in the IBM Global Business Services group and the Global Technology Services group, among possible others.

Even as the company is reportedly in talks to acquire Sun Microsystems, it is looking increasingly like IBM is set to announce another round of layoffs.

The Wall Street Journal reported on March 25 that IBM "is expected to inform a large number of U.S. employees in its Global Business Services unit that their jobs are being eliminated, with the work of many of them being transferred to IBM employees in India ..."

And according to the Alliance@IBM, an organization promoting the unionization of IBM employees, IBM is planning to cut several jobs on March 26 in locations including Denver and Hartford, Conn., particularly regarding a services contract supporting insurance company The Hartford Financial Services Group.

Also, according to a letter to IBM managers obtained by the Alliance@IBM, IBM officials said:

"Starting next week several Hartford delivery teams will be working directly with fellow IBM team members from India to begin the second phase of our Global delivery solution planned for the Hartford account. The teams will be engaged in a multi-week effort to facilitate knowledge transfer to prepare for migration of specific work activities to global delivery counterparts later in 2009. Your continued support and leadership is critical to ensure our overall success and to ensure we continue to deliver high quality cost effective solutions that IBM committed to the Hartford. Please ensure you and your teams actively support this effort."

IBM already has laid off nearly 5,000 workers since 2008. Yet the company is reportedly in negotiations to acquire Sun, which itself has announced plans to cut its work force by up to 6,000 employees.

One anonymous commenter on the Alliance@IBM site on March 25 said:

"I talked to two different Band 10s in IBM Global Business Services yesterday who have both said that tomorrow will be a big day for firing in almost all of the GBS business units. Both of them are expecting that they will be cut because the percentages are going to be higher at the higher levels. Both made reference to this could be called a black Thursday. I know that several employees have been contacted by their manager to have a short meeting that day."

Yet, in response to some of the antioffshoring backlash, another commenter, identified as "Raju," argued:

"I am part of IBM India's 2000 new hires. Hired at approximately 5000 dollars per year salary. This 2000 hires would approximately support 50,000 people in the economy. Many folks will eat a good meal. IBM might be laying off folks in high cost countries but it is doing lot of good in cheaper economies. So, if you count the people affected in a positive way by IBM, I would say IBM is doing a lot of good. And, remember IBM is a global company. It answers to all of humanity, not just to US citizens. God help us all to make this world a better place to live."