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Leaked email reveals IBM’s alleged layoff plans

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For the first time, IBM has reportedly decided to cut jobs in the Netherlands. This was, at least, according to the Facebook page of Watching IBM – an IBM employee watchdog.

Watching IBM posted an internal memo on job cuts at which was allegedly sent out to IBM’s employees.

In it, IBM explains that it needs to rebalance its employee base and transition workers with “redundant” expertise to new areas, according to Watching IBM’s post on Facebook.

The email explains: “In the past IBM implemented successfully voluntary leave programs. This time the number of places we need to rebalance is too large.”

Workers will begin finding out September 1 if they will lose their jobs.

Lee Conrad, a former IBM employee who oversees Watching IBM, told InformationWeek the move may serve as a template for the company to impose forced layoffs in regions where local labour laws have made it difficult to impose mandatory cuts.

IBM Netherlands, for example, previously was only subject to voluntary job cuts, according to Conrad.

“In many of the European countries, the cuts historically have been voluntary. This is because of the existence of works councils and unions inside IBM. Labor laws are also more favorable to workers,” said Conrad.

He added IBM’s efforts to spread this practice across Europe and other regions will likely increase.

“IBM wants to rid itself of more employees than will volunteer to leave,” Conrad said.

“IBM also wants to terminate workers in selective areas and not rely on volunteers. IBM is also shedding business units in countries like Germany and Italy and either selling them to other companies or moving them to low-cost countries like India or countries in Eastern Europe.”

In May the company announced rounds of jobs cuts which affected offices in North Carolina, New York City, Poughkeepsie, and Boulder, Colorado.

In the internal email, IBM also admitted that its current method of shifting workers is not temporary, but the new norm.

“Our customers have a need for new insights, knowledge and capabilities, making the existing expertise redundant. That is why the optimisation of our workforce is a permanent and ongoing part of our business model,” the email stated.

Addressing the Netherlands job cuts, an IBM spokesperson told Business Insider: “The news from the Netherlands is part of the changes to the company we articulated during first quarter earnings. At the time, we did state that we are transforming the company to lead in a new era of cognitive and cloud computing.

To this end, IBM currently has more than 25,000 open positions, many in these key skills areas. If IBM meets its hiring goals, we expect to end the year with the same number or more employees than at year-end 2015.”

IBM had 377,757 employees at the end of 2015, according to its annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. That is down from the 379,592 employees it had in 2014.

Image: 123RF

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