Business

Report: More layoffs planned at IBM

Posted March 25, 2009 3:54 p.m. EDT

— Thursday will be a bleak one for Big Blue workers, according to The Wall Street Journal and Alliance@IBM, the union seeking to represent IBM workers.

In RTP, some 300 people will be cut as part of what IBM (NYSE: IBM) calls a “resource action,” Alliance@IBM has been told. The union is already labeling March 26 as “Black Thursday.”

“Rumor of 4,000 being fired,” Alliance@IBM coordinator Lee Conrad told Local Tech Wire and WRAL.com. “Off-shoring jobs,” he added.

A comment section at the union Web site also contains numerous posts warning about layoffs. The comments are from people who say they work at IBM. IBM employs some 11,000 people in RTP, one of its largest employee campuses in the world.

The Journal reported Wednesday afternoon that IBM is cutting jobs in the global businesses services, or GBS, unit in the U.S. and the responsibilities will be shifted overseas, including India. The GBS unit is IBM’s largest with some 180,000 employees.

As the newspaper noted, IBM is off-shoring jobs despite a 12 percent increase in profits in the fourth quarter to more than $4.4 billion despite the global recession. IBM also has forecast revenue growth for 2009.

Various media outlets also have reported recently that IBM could acquire rival Sun Microsystems in a deal worth some $8 billion.

The newspaper cited a “person familiar with the situation.”

IBM seldom announces or confirms layoffs.

Big Blue, which recently cut thousands of jobs in its software, sales, semiconductor and finance work groups, reduced its U.S. work force by 6,000 while adding 18,000 jobs overseas in 2008. Of nearly 400,000 employees, some 115,000 are based in the U.S.

IBM declined comment about the rumors, according to the Journal.

“IBM managers have been receiving training from human-resources specialists on handling the layoffs, according to one manager involved in the process,” the newspaper said.