IBM unions agree new global strategy to fight job cuts

17.04.2014

IBM unions have agreed a new global strategy to fight thousands of job cuts and deteriorating working conditions at the computer services giant.

The Global Union Alliance @IBM, alongside UNI Global Union, IndustriALL Global Union and IndustriAll European Trade Union, will issue a series of demands to IBM management designed to protect the firm’s loyal workforce at a time of huge upheaval for IBMers.

The demands include:

  • A company strategy focused not solely on earnings per share but also on the appreciation of IBMers’ contribution to the cause.
  •  Improved working conditions, fair evaluation systems and appropriate participation of all IBMers in the success of the corporation by salary increases and other benefits for its employees.
  • Worldwide recognition of trade unions as partners in social dialogue and partners for collective agreements.

Since the announcement of IBM strategies known as “Roadmaps” in 2010 and 2015, unions say the company has mutated into a machine focused solely on profit. Earnings-per-share became the corporation’s most important goal and a lack of appreciation of its own workers now threatens to undermine the corporation from the inside out.

The unions, meeting at UNI Global Union's headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, will elect a brand new global steering group to lead the coordination of IBM union matters in future.

“IBM workers worldwide are facing increasing difficulties in the workplace – everything from job cuts and declining wages to poor working conditions," said Head of UNI ICTS Alan Tate. "This meeting was a unique opportunity to bring IBM workers and unions together to discuss ways to protect workers and help ensure a better future for IBMers too.”

The job count at IBM dropped for the first time in a decade this year when the company cut costs in attempts to meet ever-higher profit targets. Thousands more jobs are expected to go soon, with employees at IBM’s struggling hardware business thought to be particularly vulnerable to cuts.

“IBM is trying to take away jobs and to outsource them which means workers are being pressured into precarious positions," said Kan Matsuzaki, Director of ICT, Electrical and Electronics at IndustriALL Global Union. "We need to gain our negotiation power by organizing in the workplace and that's why this alliance is so important.”

Since launching its so called "workforce rebalancing" drive in which thousands of jobs are expected to go, IBM has played down the importance of its own employees. The global workforce policy of IBM is increasingly focused on reduction resulting in a lack of motivation and a climate of fear in the workplace.

“The IBM Global Union Alliance is saying to IBM that you need to treat us with respect, with dignity, and listen to employees when they discuss the situation within IBM. We want to make a better IBM, we want to make a better future for IBM employees worldwide,” said Lee Conrad, the long-time coordinator of the IBM Global Alliance.

Please also see UNI Global Union website at: http://www.uniglobalunion.org/news/ibm-unions-agree-new-global-strategy-fight-job-cuts