A week ago, the Dell dude warned that it's going to be a layoff "bloodbath" as the recently LBO-ed firm began firing 15,000. Now it's IBM's turn.
According to WRAL Tech Wire, the company which has underperformed Wall Street's expectations for many quarters, has begun "cost-rationalizing" terminations in India - the country that hosts some 100,000 of IBM's employees and where IBM reportedly employs the greatest number of workers. The unit targeted is the Systems Technology Group which is the troubled hardware group selling its low-end x86 server business to Lenovo for $2.3 billion and where Big Blue's executives have launched "Resource Action", also known as "rebalancing" but best known as mass, across the board terminations where by some estimates up to 13,000 of IBM's 434,000 workers are set to be let go.
As WRAL reports, Lee Conrad, head of union efforts to unionize IBMers, has received emails from workers as well as a reporter in India. The "RA" is expected to hit IBMers in North America as early as Feb. 19, based on internal speculation. In other words, look for a notice that IBM is laying off thousands in the US in the coming days.
"Still waiting here in the U.S." Conrad wrote.
But for now, quietly and under the radar, India is getting the pink slip Friendo treatment. And if the handling of IBM's Indian workers is any indication of what the company's US-based employees can expect, it ain't much:
Below are various scribbled or detailed notes sent out by IBM's workers upon learning they have just been made redundant. All reflect sudden notices - and quick departures, with many reportedly being quite emotional.
"Job cuts in India STG. Announced today including managers.Asked to return laptops with in 2 hrs and leave premises."
"STG Bangalore literally turned into a slaughter house today.
"Several employees were called to a meeting and RA'd.
"Their TPs were confiscated and they were asked to vacate premises immediately.
"Severance package was on an average 3 months basic component of salary, which is like 6 weeks full pay.
"RA per department as on today
- SRDC 40%
- Processors 15%
- SRAM 80%
- SSE Just began, final numbers not available
"RAs expected to last till friday.
"The fear is that HCM might be wiped off totally in a day or two. EDA and methodology numbers not yet available"
"People broke down after seeing the inhuman treatment.
"Laptops along with the cases were confiscated, so several employees were seen crying and exiting building carrying and balancing their personal belongings
with their two hands"
Two posts at the Alliance website also referenced layoffs at Bangalore, which is known as India's "Silicon Valley."
"RAs Started in Bangalore"
Three other posts give insight into what's happening in Bangalore:
"IBM today had a massive layoff in STG bangalore more than 40% staff was let go off in a single day. Be it PBC 1 or 2 doesnot matter you are just asked to leave IBM premises by immediate effect. I fail to understand how joB cut will help management to achieve 20 EPS. The upper executives lack vision and clarity to restructure business process. Good bye to ibm hopefully will be in better place than ibm."
"RAs started in STG Bangalore, hearing that large numbers impacted. Will keep you posted on the details as i get them. the job market is reasonably good outside and the average experience here is about 6-7 years.people are not too worried. most were anyway sick of the company and its junk policies. -Bangalore RAs started-"
"People were reacting to the sale of semiconductor business news rather harshly, well wishers were asking me when was I planning to leave IBM, and the others sarcastically asked me what am I still doing here in STG. Felt very embarrassed walking in the corridor today. The general perception here is that if you are still with IBM, it is because you did not find a job elsewhere. Phew !! that just means to say IBM STG is being considered the worst place to be at this time. We all at STG India would like to express solidarity with the IBM USA work force preparing for yet another RA in the coming weeks. Rest assured we do not feel any better being employed with IBM either. The flood gates are opening and I anticipate that we will lose all our above average work force in the next 3 months. Good luck to you all, I am sure there is life outside of IBM. bye for now, time to update my resume, keep in touch. -STG INDIA-"
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The good news, if only for shareholders: IBM will spend billions on stock buybacks and dividends in 2014... because paying wages is so not New Normal.