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IBM workers’ unions call for halt to job cuts

20 February, 2015Trade unions representing IBM workers around the world have called for an urgent moratorium on job cuts and for meaningful dialogue with the company following intense media speculation about restructuring at the troubled multinational.

In a move that has angered IBM employees around the world, just as they are threatened with massive job losses, senior executives at IBM have been awarded multi-million dollar bonuses despite overseeing 11 consecutive quarters of poor financial performance.

Kan Matsuzaki, Director of ICT, Electrical and Electronics at IndustriALL Global Union, said:

IBM workers worldwide want to see IBM succeed but IBM executives need to realise that employees are assets to business success and not liabilities. It is essential for IBM to urgently engage in open and constructive dialogue with the trade unions who represent IBM workers to explain what is happening and why. Stonewalling its workforce is not an answer.

Alan Tate, Head of Information, Communication and Telecoms in Switzerland-based UNI Global Union which represents 3 million workers in ICT industries, said: “IBM workers around the globe are learning through the media to brace themselves for job. This uncertainty is creating high levels of anxiety among our members and it is damaging the reputation of IBM as an employer.

“Reports have been coming in from the USA, Canada and elsewhere that IBM workers are being given termination of contract notices. Other reports show that IBM workers’ work evaluations (‘PBC’) are being artificially lowered in order to justify increased job cuts. Meanwhile, company insiders are reporting that jobs are being terminated in order to move work out to countries where labour costs and social protections are considerably weaker.”

According to the USA-based Alliance@IBM Communication Workers of America (CWA) Local 1701 the threat of job cuts in the US and Canada may total in excess of 5,000 workers.

Members of IBM Global Union Alliance for workers at IBM have called on the company to halt its plans for job cuts and have made it clear that it makes no business sense to fire the very employees who are trying to fix the company’s woes through their unprecedented commitment to productivity and innovation.

The Alliance has also called on the company to sign up to an agreement with employees and their trade union representatives to demonstrate how much it values their contribution to the company as a means to improving morale. The IBM Global Union Alliance’s key demands are:

  • A moratorium on all job cuts;
  • Improved working conditions, fair evaluation systems and inclusion of all IBM staff in the disbursement of remuneration, bonuses and non-salary related benefits;
  • Global recognition of trade unions as a partner in social dialogue, negotiations and collective bargaining agreements.